Warlord UK 'We Die As One' Review

WARLORD UK came into being in 1993 as a three-piece in Birmingham. It has existed in various incarnations before the line up it consists of today with Mark “Warlord” White on bass and vocals, Lee Foley on guitars, Brooksie also on guitars and Kevin Bartlett as a session drummer (while Warlord UK seek a full time drummer). 1st June will see the band release its new album, “We Die As One”, and I’ve been lucky enough to review it.

The album begins with an introduction called “When Worlds Collide”, an ominous track comprised of sludgy synth and echoing vocals. This song would not be out of place within a horror film, being used to set an eerie scene.

This theme continues briefly into the second song, “Human Inner Core” before the band enters into a dark frenzy of speedy drums, masterful guitars and bass, and deep, thrilling vocals. As someone who had never listened to Warlord before this album, it made me excited; the sound brought by the band playing together is exhilarating. The breakdown at 2:03 is a mighty and satisfying climax. The track is unforgiving, and rightly so, as it exhibits a great understanding of the death and thrash genres of metal. As I listen to it I find myself hoping that the rest of the album can keep up!

“Masses Gather in Masses” wastes no time in assuring me that it can, with a heavy, dynamic introduction. This track is absolutely solid, and shows that the band has no weak link at all. This makes me wish I was watching them; I can only imagine the atmosphere and energy when this is played live!  The constant changes in tempo and pitch throughout this track make it feel as though I am being taken on a musical journey through Warlord UK’s tastes.

The next track: “Insurgents Breed” is absolutely epic and, while everyone in this band is clearly talented, I find Kevin Bartlett’s drumming in this worthy of a mention as being extraordinary. The clearly audible bass in this tune adds a depth which I think a few bands could learn from. 

“Strength Defeats Decay” begins with drum and bass which border on funk and adds another, fantastically employed, dimension to this album. This quickly dissolves into more brutal death metal as Mark “Warlord” White’s gruff vocals enter, accompanied by equally robust guitars. These elements are combined towards the end of the song to make a dynamic combination. This enters overdrive at 3:49 as the track reaches its speedy climax.

Track number six, “Last of our Legacy” begins with mellow bass which is joined by faster guitar and drums 40 seconds in. This song sounds more sombre than the others on the album until 1:25 when the music switches to a faster pace to introduce more strong vocals from Mark White. The pace through out the song keeps changing with an exciting unpredictability. 

“Age of Extreme” follows, and returns to the energy of the rest of the album with great drumming from Kevin Bartlett. It is a thrillingly dark track which features a couple of excellent guitar solos and some bass riffs that really stand out. 

It is a shame that the speech which “Knights of the Godless” begins with is lost amongst the music and, therefore, difficult to hear, because it would have added an element of drama to the song to have been able to hear the words. Otherwise, the song is great.

“We Die as One” gives an immediate impression of what is to come musically with a fast introduction on guitars. The chorus features the line “We live, we die, we fight, we kill, we die as one.” which is compelling and also memorable in case audience participation is desired. I love having memorable lines like this to chant to at a live gig as it feels as though the audience and the band are bonding.

At only just over 2 minutes long, “Remember Them” is a different track to the rest of the album. It begins with female vocals over the top of ominous sounding bass and synth. It features the odd guitar line and, at the end, a mix of both female and male vocals. It keeps the ominous sound all the way through but also sounds quite sad. Personally, I think it’s a great way to end an energetic album. 

The whole album is raw and powerful and shows why Warlord UK have been together so long. They work well as a unit, forming their own sound without straying from the conventions of death and thrash metal. It’s an enjoyable album and I’d recommend it to anyone. 

Review by Eileen Bate

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