It’s only since last year that I know about the Belgian Thrash Metal band WARCKON. The band was formed in 2009. Two years later, their debut album came out under the title “The Madman’s Lullaby”. Several gigs and a selection among the last 100 contenders of Humo’s Rock Rally, Belgium’s biggest mainstream rock rally, WARCKON signed a label deal with the French Emanes Metal Records, who re-released the aforementioned album in 2012. More gigs were played, including sharing the stage with bands like ARTILLERY, HYADES and ENFORCER. Since March 1st, 2014, album no. 2 is available: “High Treason”.
The album begins with the intro “Mare Tranquilitatis”, on which waves sounds of a music box can be heard, joined by incoming guitar leads. Gradually the whole grows, becomes more powerful, creating a tension that will snap as the old school Thrash of “The Weak” kicks in. It’s got the typical ingredients: shouting vocals, shredding guitars and that humpa-beat. The solo sounds rough, though. Still, quite a good track to start with. Dark, mysterious lead to “(My Very Own) Moriarty”. As the Metal breaks free, it’s got a somewhat dancy touch. I would almost describe it as TÝR (that Folk/Power Metal band from the Faroe Islands) going Thrash. Over halfway, it’s (screamy) solo time. There’s more of those later on, even in dual form. But again, the sound is rough/raw. A matter of taste, I’d say, as the lads keep it old school.
WARCKON may keep it old school, but they avoid making the same song again and again. In “High Treason” the typical Thrash input is reduced, to allow for a more accessible Heavy/Thrash fusion. It’s a firm and catchy song with flashy solos. A speech interlude allows for a more lively setting before music takes over again. All in all, not a bad song, although it may be a bit too long. A direct, pounding attack with wild guitar work is then going on in “Choir Of Shadows”. The flashy solo pieces, with which the track began, return very frequently. It may be good as an idea, but here they are used a little too often, leading to annoyance, if I may say so. More and proper solos are due later. Speaking of which, it’s as if this track is more about solos than the actual music.
“Dawn Of The Era Gargoylaes” does not show its power from the start, rather likes to start with a clean sheet, building itself and then putting all its cards onto the table. No shouting, but screaming vocals here. Thrash by the book, again, but not really that exciting (anymore). “Sleeper” comes to the rescue with its melodic building and midtempo continuation… yes, leading into pounding Thrash Metal. But it’s good. So is the straight-forward and firm “The Samurai”, where the singing is better, without losing power.
Music only in “Mutant Messiah”, the instrumental track on the album. It’s a midtempo song with a key role for the drums. It’s very riff-based, there’s some solo stuff, but overall… what? It’s not an “Orion” or “To Live Is To Die” or “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth” (all by METALLICA), “Kaiowas” (SEPULTURA), solo stuff by JEFF LOOMIS, and so on, to name some other examples. In other words, those songs had melody, they had feel, they had something. It’s, in my opinion, hard to say the same about “Mutant Messiah”. And as a bonus track, a ballad: “The Grief Is In The Eye Of The Beholder”. This one, as expected, starts clean and even had clean singing. Eh.. qué? Bands like METALLICA, MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, … have a few ballads up their sleeves, one better than the other, obviously. WARCKON’s effort is ok, but nothing more.
In the biography references are made to bands like MEGADETH, ANNIHILATOR, TESTAMENT, EXODUS and SLAYER, and to some extent WARCKON does play such (old school) Thrash Metal. Either I’m out of this genre or this album is first and foremost for the old school Thrash fan, in which case I do think that “High Treason” can quench your thirst. I’m still thirsty, though. It is also said that they put on a good live show, so maybe it’s there that the band’s musical magic lies.
- Mare Tranquilitatis
- The Weak
- (My Very Own) Moriarty
- High Treason
- Choir Of Shadows
- Dawn Of The Era Gargoylaes
- The Samurai
- Mutant Messiah (instrumental)
- The Grief Is In The Eye Of The Beholder (bonus track)
Wouter Langhendries – vocals, guitar
Jonas Bergmans – guitar
Marijn Lostermans – bass
Marijn Langhendries – drums