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Metal Life Show Review: WARBRINGER Comeback Show At The Whisky With DESECRATE, OPHIUCHUS and EXMORTUS

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April 30, 2015 – The end of a month marked the beginning of a new era for Southern California’s guardians of thrash metal. Preceding the anticipated return of Kevill and a promising new lineup were the Whisky’s usual gaggle of local bands. Perhaps the most distinguished of the night was Desecrate. Their music strikes a very unique chord, as they traded in a typical thrash formula for some risky melodic distinctions ala Symphony X that stunned and fascinated the all-ages crowd. After such an artistic showcase, the band decided it was time to show the audience that they could throw down. Their energy sent a shockwave through the room as the crushing crossover grooves of “Power Trip” caused the crowd to erupt into a massive clusterfuck of a mosh pit. Seeing them for the first time will give you a fulfilling look into an ensemble who is actually trying to make a difference in the world of metal.

Crowd energy wore down upon Ophiuchus’s entrance. Highly recommended to me by many of my death metal peers, I had high hopes for this group. While I didn’t want to think that I couldn’t trust musicians wearing Trivium and Motionless in White shirts to play crushing metal, I was proven right. Their energy was palpable, but their music left me confused and didn’t provide the same sense of wonder I felt while watching Desecrate.

“They’re so good, it’s disgusting.” This is the funniest quote regarding Exmortus I heard all night. Every moment this band spends on stage is another moment you realize they are an assembly of the most gifted musicians the Los Angeles area offers. Between their adored rendition of Moonlight Sonata and the well-executed finale of “Metal is King,” these guys had no problem displaying their signature blend of pageantry and brutality. “Hymn of Hate” was debuted on the stage, a new work of art that shaved off some (not all) of the shredding in favor for some pulverizing breakdowns. Their future is looking brighter by the minute.

When the moment of truth finally arrived, the crowd delivered heart-warming shouts of welcome to a newly regenerated Warbringer, including the return of original guitarist Adam Carroll, who blasted the walls of the Whiskey with the echoes of “Severed Reality.” Kevill never looked so alive, whipping out his signature deranged facial expressions and that infamous clawed hand which together bring out his ultimate beast persona. The biggest shock of the night was when Vicken played that hi-hat intro that opens “Forgotten Dead”; that pit ripped open faster than you could say “Throwback Thursday.” There were no signs of slowing down, but how could you when you get slammed back to back with “Total War,” “Living in a Whirlwind,” AND “Combat Shock”? By the time the house lights came up, there was not a one face that was not beaming in delight. It is truly a miracle to see a rehabilitated and re-energized Warbringer. They came back with a power and resilience unlike noone has ever seen, an attitude that tells me they are here to stay.

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