"Warnaments" (Candlelight; 2006)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Most bands this dastardly and dark wouldn't opt to run with huge choruses like the one found on "Battlespawn," yet Swedish supergroup Torchbearer twist the Gothenburg sound to cater to today's metal realm quite well on "Warnaments."

Featuring members of the volatile metal acts Scar Symmetry, Satariel, and Angel Blake, this band crash the party with excessive force. Meshing the type of hooks that wouldn't sound out of place coming from Soilwork with a crusty crunch that evokes Testament, Hypocrisy, and Entombed, cuts like "Where Night is Total" and "Dark Clouds Gathering" are prime examples of how a band can successfully blur the lines between thrash, death and black metal while keeping the melody intact. 

By digging its nails way past the surface, Torchbearer conjures up a concoction that fans of Children of Bodom and Animosity will undoubtedly go ape over. 

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"Yersinia Pestis" (Metal Blade; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

From limited press materials, I know TorchBearer to be a collaborative effort of musicians from different Swedish bands (Solar Dawn, Unmoored, Setherial, Chaosdemon). I'm hesitant to call Torchbearer a supergroup as I've never heard the work of the various individual member's bands. The result of this particular collaboration is "Yersinia Pestis" and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

From the sound of "Yersinia Pestis" it seems to be clear that the band members had a clear vision of what the band should sound like. TorchBearer comes across as a band that mixes death metal and thrash metal in equal doses with an icy coating of black metal for some surprising depth. Since Yersinia Pestis means The Black Death it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the record is a fairly grim affair.

The album's ten tracks move by in a crisp 36 minutes with nary a wasted moment or passage to long for its own good. Far too often I find the death metal genre to be too limiting for my personal tastes although I must admit I find the death/thrash genre to much more palatable to my ears. However, taking the elements of black metal into the mix seemed downright troublesome. But I was wrong; TorchBearer does a great job keeping the sound varied and interesting throughout "Yersinia Pestis."

"Yersinia Pestis" was produced by Jonas Kjellgren and TorchBearer.

TorchBearer: Par Johansson on vocals, Christian Alvestam on guitars and vocals, G. Johansson on guitars, Mikael Degerman on bass, and Henrik Schonstrom on drums. Guest musicians include Thomas Johansson (Unmoored) on lead guitar and Johan Astrand on synthesizers.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 14:16:30 -0400.