Wednesday, August 05, 2009

At War-Infidel

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Heavy Artillery
2009



Back in the mid 1980's there was a healthy underground going on and labels like Metal Blade and Combat were the front runners of the scene. Down below the surface there were other labels helping keep the scene alive too. One such label was California's New Renaissance records. They had some crap bands, but they were also home to such overlooked gems as Medieval, Executioner, Blood Feast and of course At War. This Virginia trio released their debut "Ordered to kill" in 1986. It was a tight-fisted kick in the head that pulled from the liked of Motorhead and Metallica. They also managed to bring in their own sound as well. Two years later they followed it up with "Retaliatory Strike". It was a more aggressive effort, but the original sound that existed in parts on the debut were almost gone by this point and had been replaced by a desire to be faster. Unfortunately that was it for this band until now. So twenty-one years later the same line-up returns with a follow-up. The songs here are much closer to 80's thrash than they are to anything that's been done in recent years. At War are still playing no-nonsense, medium fast past songs that gallop ahead as well as this band's material from back in the day. The lyrics have not progressed at all, but the music has certainly gotten tighter. If I had to pick an individual from this band who has improved the most then it would definitely be drummer Dave Stone. His playing is far more varied than it was the first time around. Another department where At War has improved is in the production. Like many New Renaissance bands the production was very raw on their previous albums, but it's definitely better this time around. All in all At War are not pushing any boundaries on their new album. However, At War certainly more confident than they did back in their younger days and they are not afraid change up the pace more either. I am not sure that it hits with quite the fire of "Ordered to kill", but "Infidel" manages to do enough to convince me that At War still have ammo left to give.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love these guys...and you know what? I've met them! dozens of times! OMGZ. But only because I grew up with them. Used to go see them all the time back in the olden days when SE/VA still had a decent metal scene. At War, OTT, Devastation Cathedral, Menace, Kill Bon Jovi, Burnnn. The mid to late 80s were great around there. Paul sat in with my Motorhead tribute a few years ago and did The Hammer with us. It was great. Glad to see that these guys got it going again.

4:47 PM  
Blogger pierrenorris said...

Creatures Of The Night

6:33 AM  

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