It’s taken them nearly a decade, but finally Bay Area thrashers Cultural Warfare have got it together and are set to release their first full length album, the absolutely bangin’ Warmageddon…
And what an album it is. Opening with the title track the band lays its cards on the table from the get-go; this is pure, unadulterated thrash straight outta the old school. Superb vocals from Jaques Serrano, backed up by melodic riffage and superb leadwork from band mainstay Billy Garoutte and rhythm sidekick Kevin Doughty (who used to play drums in the band!) and a typically battering rhythm section (hail! Pete Aguilar (br) and Bones Padilla (dr)) all go together to create a refreshingly familiar but nonetheless vital sound that really will have you up off the sofa and thrashing like a maniac round your front room…
Warmageddon the track carries a welcome whiff of classic Metal Church around it, whilst standout track Divided We Crawl adds some big backing vocals to give an almost-crossoverish feel. But make no mistake – this is an album solidly based in solid, dependable, and very listenable heavy metal.
G.O.D. isn’t quite so immediate but rewards persistence, revealing itself over time to be a nice piece of proggy thrash, again carried by superb vocals and excellent soloing. Eyes of the Land carries on in this vein, superbly constructed and sounding very much like a band on their tenth release. Cultural Warfare are clearly master craftsmen.
Two Spirits doesn’t work as well and kills the vibe a little, but the coruscating riffage of Politikill gets things back on track, bringing to mind Flotsam and Jetsam with it’s dark atmospherics. And, once again, the harmony lead work of Garoutte and Doughty is quite excellent.
The second half of the album more or less replicates the first, Scars Left Cold has a welcome immediacy, and it’s great to hear the vocals so clear and punching out of the front of the mix. Elsewhere Witches Prayer is a bit more prosaic but still carries a certain mid eighties charm, especially in the gang vocals, whilst penultimate track Blood Machines will test the necks of fans up and down the land in a live setting I’m sure..
At the end of the day in 2018 it’s great to hear a straight up thrash album that isn’t trying to be anything else. With no death metal vocals, no concessions to modern production values or the tastes of the new generations of metal fans… this is as close to the genuine article as you’re going to get. Enjoy!
Warmageddon is out on M-Theory Audio on September 14th.