Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Warsenal - Demo

Warsenal are a new thrash/speed metal group from Quebec that will be one of the opening bands on the third day of Hellfest Lanaudière this year. Much to my surprise, they will also be opening for the Skeletonwitch/Barnburner show I am attending on the Thursday leading up to Hellfest, so the band are already making their mark and they have contributed their Demo to Volumes of Sin for review as part of the Hellfest Lanaudière review week ahead. How does the Demo sound, and should you be scraping together your couch change to get to their local gig?


Genre: Thrash/Speed Metal
Label: Self-released/independent
Release Date: February 24th, 2012
  1. Hit 'N' Run
  2. Unstoppable
  3. Wars
Total Playtime: 13 minutes, 29 seconds





Rating: 9.0/10





Warsenal are a new thrash/speed metal group from Quebec that will be one of the opening bands on the third day of Hellfest Lanaudière this year. Much to my surprise, they will also be opening for the Skeletonwitch/Barnburner show I am attending on the Thursday leading up to Hellfest, so the band are already making their mark and they have contributed their Demo to Volumes of Sin for review as part of the Hellfest Lanaudière review week ahead. How does the demo sound, and should you be scraping together your couch change to get to their local gig?

For an independently released demo, the sound quality and mixing is excellent. Warsenal have made their 80's inspired thrash direction prominent and authentic; the tracks are a flurry of face melting fast riffs with a steady one-two drum beat in the background which alternates and a few rolls here and there to offer variety while the bass keeps things heavy, which is needed since the guitar has a high treble tone. The vocals in "Unstoppable" and "Wars" have an old school underground thrash feel that is complimented by subtle echo effects that offers up atmosphere and depth. "Hit 'N' Run" is lacking this trait, so the vocals feel a little heavy on top but are sinister as the vocalist laughs about loving to hear the squeals of victims under his wheels.

"Nothing can describe how it makes me feel. All those bodies crushing under my wheels. I love to hear them squeal!"

While taking a look at the lyrics, "Hit 'N' Run" is a twisted track that makes the best out of dark humor, "Unstoppable" is an obvious band anthem which makes use of the bands name in the chorus and "Wars" is surprisingly an anti-war themed song. Some of the lyrics are a little cheesy and funny, but enjoyable at the same time and the energy encompassing the release really gets the heart pumping and blood flowing.


The drumming is really catchy and is used more for hooks than any other instrument here. Drummer Antoine Turcotte sticks with a fairly basic thrash influence, offering up some rolls and some crisp hi-hat/snare patterns. There isn't very much bass drum present which leaves the bass guitar to take care of business, and Warsenal's bassist Francis Labine has no problem with that. The bass track sits audibly between the drums and guitars until the mix decides to put it in the spotlight. "Unstoppable" has a minute long bass solo that is just as enthralling and exciting as any of the guitar solos presented. "Hit 'N' Run" also has a cut away section that lets the bass shine through as well, which makes for a good start to the Demo itself.

The guitars and vocals are shared by the same person; Mathieu Rondeau. His guitar skills have a personalized touch and a sarcastic vibe, heard best in "Wars" which has a memorable and familiar little solo embedded within. The vocal work showcased does leave room for improvement but is by no means bad, however it doesn't feel as tight as the rest of the content within this Demo. The potential is there and with a little bit of talent honing it can be stepped up a notch which will bring even more energy and power to the table of Warsenal.

Warsenal have only just begun with their first Demo and they already have some big name tours coming up. When I saw Skeletonwitch for the first time in 2010, Barnburner were opening for them and the band were largely unknown... well now Barnburner are signed with Metal Blade. Other than needing a little more tightness on the vocals, everything else is solid and memorable. Warsenal could be heading down the same path as Barnburner, and you should get off your ass and dig up some change to go to their local gigs. Warsenal are incredibly energetic so keep an eye out for these newcomers!

Digital Download Provided by: Warsenal

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