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Exoneration Denied

Cyclone Empire (2013)
Rating: 7.5/10

The thrash revival band wagon seems to be on unsteady wheels as more and more bands hop on board in their quest to bring back the old school dynamics. One such band is Sweden’s Warfect, an intriguing three-piece who have moved on since their inception as Incoma, changing their name in 2008 after two demo releases.

Exoneration Denied is Warfect’s second platter, following on from 2009’s Depicting The Macabre, and it’s quite a pleasant surprise as modern day thrash outings go.

What I like about the Warfect approach is the serious attitude, the cutting percussion, the volatile guitars and more so the vicious vocals. I’m a huge band of scything techno-thrash acts such as Sadus, and the more recent cult heroes Vektor, and so the vocal sneers of Fredrik Wester are welcomed by me.

Overall, Warfect are a blistering thrash band who have decided to steer well clear of gimmicks that plague the thrash scene today and instead they’ve opted for a drier, straight-laced assault which pounces on the ear drums and refuses to let go until the final strains of ‘Pried From Earth’ die out.

As soon as the title track enters the arena you just know that these guys are a well-oiled machine who are in it for the long run. With all due respect, there is nothing remotely Swedish about Warfect; they nod to the late 80s style of no frills technical thrash, bringing to mind all manner of metal maniacs from Anacrusis to Kreator, and certainly Slayer at their most spiteful with those scathing riffs.

‘Drone Wars’ is most certainly the closest Warfect come to Slayer. The drums of Mattias Kern are ferocious; a true stampede on the speakers as Wester’s leads cut deep. Warfect are most certainly a harsh experience, and I’m all the better for it, experiencing a strong dose of German thrash influence at its core, although the simmering ‘Inflammatory’ sounds more like Voivod at its birth until its Slayer-esque percussion kicks in.

I’ve been bombarded by a number of rather mundane thrash releases over the last few years, but Warfect most certainly have a razor-like effect on the flesh. However, it’s not all about hyper thrash. ‘Nation Divided’ begins with a killer riff that doesn’t require any type of pace to propel it to the cosmos. The track is more than happy to spit venom, all the while remaining as a sinister plod, courtesy of Kern’s steady drum and Wester’s infected bile that seethes through his clenched teeth.

Of course, when you come across a track called ‘Slit With A Razor’ you know you’re in for a thrashier assault, and Warfect do not disappoint, carving up flesh and bone with a frenetic, hate-filled gallop. And ‘Roman Disfigure’ is equally bustling, shifting between classic thrash chug and pacey scowl.

Warfect are certainly a band worth keeping an eye on – that’s if you have any eyes left after this beating.

Neil Arnold

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