When I first heard Cultural Warfare, I was under the impression that they were just your run of the mill thrash act, heavily inspired by Exodus. However, I found that they were more like power/thrash in the vein of Helstar, Artillery, Halcyon Way or Savage Messiah. This interested me greatly, as I’m a huge fan of power/thrash and Cultural Warfare seem to provide a memorable dose of it. But what’s more, is that the frontman attempts a few Warrel Dane impressions and the band even kick things down a notch in order to attempt a Nevermore influenced cut, which I’ll discuss later. Bands should always be encouraged to step out of boundaries and that is what you’ll get there. Now, for you “keep it pure” thrash fans, you’re going to like that this slight intrusion is just a one-off and for the most part, you’re getting a well-produced thrash effort that features not only more than a few memorable lead and solos, but an amazing frontispiece that captures not only the melancholy howl of Warrel Dane, but the high-flying vocal antics of Rob Halford. “Eyes Of The Land” features a chorus that definitely brings to mind Nevermore and that’s reason enough to recommend this disc right from the start. Especially since we’re not going to get another Warrel Dane anytime soon. And I’m not ready for Robo-Dane or a clone. Let’s just commit the man’s work to memory.
That being said, “Two Spirits” definitely has that Dead Heart In A Dead World vibe, and I’m not going to beat around the bush about that. It also features a female vocal section, which might equal out to a change for hardcore thrash fans. It’s decidedly a “what?” moment, but the structure of this piece warrants attention and shows listeners that Cultural Warfare can do more than just thrash. And yeah, they do offer some thrash in the track, just so that it doesn’t come off as too much of a change from what thrashers expect. I personally think the cut is beautiful and a mighty standout. The female vocals are performed quite well, dueting perfectly with an already potent frontman. The solos actually add a nice touch as well, showing how quickly the band can bounce to and fro between different styles at the drop of a hat. We might be looking at a real heavy hitter here, folks. Make no mistake. Now if I was a label guy, I’d want this cut to be the band’s second single. Theatrical video and all. The first one could of course be a catchy thrash cut, maybe opener “Warmageddon” or “Divided We Crawl” but then throwing listeners an unexpected bone like that could work in the band’s favor. The rest of the disc is listenable, but standard-fare (aside from a great chorus in “Punished”). Thrash fans will love it, but I felt that I’d heard all that I needed to at that point and many of the latter tracks seemed to bleed into each other. Not that there was anything wrong with potent thrash from a more than capable thrash act, but the lack of diversity seemed to take its toll on me as I longed for another approach. This is only a slight nitpick though and I can’t quite get upset about a thrash act for playing thrash, especially as well as they perform it here. If you’re a fan of power/thrash and also enjoy the work of Nevermore, then you’re going to love this one.
(12 Tracks, 56:00)
Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)