Warbringer IV: Empires Collapse

Warbringer IV: Empires Collapse
7
No one could say Warbringer is reinventing the wheel, but said wheel is just fine the way it is. Steeped in the Bay Area tradition of "born to thrash, thrash 'til death," IV: Empires Collapse is an album very much of its influences — Exodus by way of At The Gates, fronted by Tom Araya — sounding classic without needless pandering to nostalgia. Tracks like "Hunter-Seeker," "The Turning of the Gears" and "Off With Their Heads!" are 1987 through and through, played with straight-faced sincerity. Technical without pretentiousness, the band rampage forward, slowing down only for the menacing "Leviathan." Unfortunately, Warbringer do little to differentiate themselves from the legions of similar-sounding acts, past and present. While never aping Reign In Blood, Warbringer are often bogged down by the sensation that we've heard all of this before, treading slavishly over the familiar. At worst, IV: Empires Collapse may feel unnecessary, but it's difficult to fault the California five-piece for doing just what we expect of them. (Century Media)