grief of WAR - Worship
Prosthetic Records
Thrash Metal
10 songs (43:47)
Release year: 2009
grief of WAR, Prosthetic Records
Reviewed by Phil

Finally, Japan has an official entrant in the worldwide thrash metal revival. Grief of WAR just released their second full-length album, Worship, on Prosthetic Records. And let me tell you, this band has everything. They’ve got tattoos, spiky Jackson guitars and their drummer plays that sweet mid-pace tempo we all missed so much. Is the music any good? Well, no…no, not really. But man, they sure do sound like that band everyone loved in the ‘80s. Though grief of WAR describes their sound as ‘Samurai Crunch,’ these ears say they have more in common with German thrash.

Worship is basically your standard format 10-song thrash record; most of the songs run about four minutes apiece. Traditional format aside, the album is something of an international accomplishment. The studio sessions took place in Tokyo, Japan; the album was mastered in New York; and the CD art was created in Canada.

The first song is ominously named Crack of Doom (please, try not to laugh). It starts off with a few canned sound effects and a decent riff. The vocalist has his thrash scream in decent form, but a weird death metal, gang vocal hybrid will throw you for a loop at the chorus. There’s also a respectable thrash breakdown in the middle of the song. New Kind of Wicked starts off with a guitar intro that features tons of notes. When the whole band comes in, the song is pushed forward by a funky, off-time drum rhythm. Interesting. The unique rhythm actually helps the song hearken back to the groovier days of thrash.

The first single and title track, Worship, is probably the only keeper of the bunch. It leaps out of the gate with a classic air raid siren and a pounding drum salvo. The song begins with a solid riff, and a classic speed riff takes over about a minute and a half in. The song has time changes galore, and it wraps up with a throaty scream over a decent guitar outro. Unfortunately, a song named Into the Void follows it. No, it’s not a cover of the KISS song. But, just the fact that grief of WAR’s song shares its name with that clunker makes it very hard to take seriously. Midnight Sun is probably the most involved song on the album. It clocks in at over six minutes. One riff in this song is taken straight from Lamb of God’s songbook. It’s a sprawling piece of music that ends with a surprisingly dramatic guitar solo.

And that’s one thing Worship definitely has – a ton of guitar solos. Every song has at least one solo, and some feature light dueling between the two guitarists. It doesn’t save the album, but the solos are one of the album’s bright spots. What Worship doesn’t have is engaging lyrics. Maybe their ideas are lost in translation, or maybe the band just doesn’t have any new ideas to contribute to the scene. But screaming the same tired thrash buzzwords over a song in 2009 will never engage a listener or grab his or her attention.

In the end, this album is a disappointment. Thinking back, the best thrash bands were the ones who attempted to expand their sound. It may seem strange now, but back in the day there were bands that mixed thrash with funk, psychedelia, punk and rap. Most of today’s retro-thrashers just seem content to ride coattails. Instead of finding a unique voice, bands go into the studio and create by the numbers thrash albums. Unfortunately, it looks like Worship is one of those albums.

Killing Songs :
Worship, Midnight Sun
Phil quoted 62 / 100
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