Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Review: Tsar Bomb - Neowarfare

Tsar Bomb initially formed in 2009 and have since undergone several line up changes. Eventually the Spaniard group settled on three consistent members; a vocalist, guitarist and bassist. 2012 saw the release of Tsar Bomb's four-track, self-titled debut EP and soon afterwards their first full-length album, Neowarfare. Does this entry LP obliterate the masses with a destructive detonation, or fail to cause much more than a fizzle?

Genre: Black/Death Metal
Label: Self-released/independent
Release Date: October 9th, 2012
  1. Intro
  2. Tsar Bomb
  3. Victorious Death
  4. Nuclear Feast
  5. Neowarfare
  6. Ashes of My Enemies
  7. Zyklon-B for the Human Race
  8. Tupolev TU-95
  9. Nammu
Total Playtime: 38 minutes, 47 seconds





Rating: 6.0/10







Tsar Bomb initially formed in 2009 and have since undergone several line up changes. Eventually the Spaniard group settled on three consistent members; a vocalist, guitarist and bassist. 2012 saw the release of Tsar Bomb's four-track, self-titled debut EP and soon afterwards their first full-length album, Neowarfare. Does this entry LP obliterate the masses with a destructive detonation, or fail to cause much more than a fizzle?

One thing to note immediately is that Tsar Bomb did not have a live drummer at the point that this album was recorded, and instead a drum machine that was programmed by vocalist Ocram and guitarist Ivan is used. Due to this, the drums have a deeply embedded mechanical sound to them that gives off a cold, desolate, war-like atmosphere to the material. When listening via headphones, the drums sound like they're pushed too far back into the mix to make much of a difference or impact to the material. However, when listening via speakers the drums absolutely wreck the sub-woofer with a devastating onslaught of machine gun double bass kicks and fierce snare slams. The drum programming has been done remarkably well, the only downsides being that some of the beats sound humanly impossible, such as what is heard in "Nuclear Feast", and it is easy to recognize some of the triggers.


Aside from the drums, there is a lack of depth to the overall content. The guitar is mundane and lifeless in tone, equipped with barely any distortion or enthralling characteristics in general. A good portion of the tracks are carried by tremolo picking and the occasional set of power chord riffs, with a few brief sweeps and solos thrown in for extra chaos; on the upside, the riffs are creative and stimulating, the listener never gains the feeling that they've heard this before. There is an invasion of war-inspired audio snippets dispersed amidst the nine tracks, ranging from dropping bombs, flying fighter jets and explosions; these added efforts reinforce the turbulent war themes that breach each and every song present. The vocals come across much like those from Belphegor front-man Helmuth, assimilating powerful growls and harsh mid-tone shrieks; the vocals also sparingly make use of spoke word phrases, sometimes coupled with a megaphone effect. Lastly, but not least, the bass domineeringly helps Neowarfare gain momentum with an explosion of continual, deep, rasping lines.

Four of the tracks included appear on Tsar Bomb's self-titled EP; "Tsar Bomb", "Zyklon-B for the Human Race", "Ashes of My Enemies" and "Tupolev TU-95". Each of these tracks carry over strongly, but they were just released a few months prior to Neowarfare so their incorporation feels needless. Of the fresh material, "Nammu" is the only other track that truly stands out amongst the rest and is much slower in tempo compared to the rest of the album, which has an abundant cold, hardened atmosphere to it.

Tsar Bomb have a hit and miss full-length on their hands. On one hand, the content is exceedingly fast, perhaps even rivaling that of Behemoth; it blasts, it pummels, it overwhelms, it's driven, it's chaotic. On the other hand, the bland guitar tone really brings this content way down despite the purposefully bleak atmosphere that they provide; the guitar is underwhelming, completely toneless, and stale in sound. It's also really uncertain if a live drummer could keep up with some portions of this content, it's just that fast. Another downside is that four of the five tracks that are the best on Neowarfare have already been released in a prior EP that was distributed a few mere months before this album. This is one of those albums that could go either way depending on the individual; if you want something that will beat your sorry ass into a bloody pulp, relentlessly, with driving chaos and inhuman drumming then this may be the album for you.

Digital Download Provided by: Badgod Music

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