For all of the great thrash metal bands around the world there is always a bit of excitement when a new one emerges from Eastern Europe. They bring a purer thrash sound to the ear to excite, their seeds sown and cultivated in the origins and strengths of the genre. Serbian band War Engine is no different, young and unapologetic they bring you thrash metal as it should be, in their own words they say “if you want fuckin thrash, we will give you fuckin, fast, badass thrash .“ As their debut demo proves they are true to their word, its three tracks unbridled merciless straight forward thrash pleasure. There is no place for fancy diversions, complicated progressive meanderings or unpredictable perpetual breakdowns, they simply offer straight from the heart heavy rock n roll.
From Novi Sad the quartet of guitarist Dusan Mijolic, bassist Aleksandar Jakshic, drummer Stefan Stanic, and vocalist/guitarist Luka Francesko, have obvious influences from the likes of Violator, Municipal Waste, Slayer, and Kreator, to name just a few which spring to mind and have absorbed all their best elements to create their own hungry sound. Currently recording their debut album, the demo makes the perfect introduction to the band whilst instigating keen anticipation for their first full length release planned for later in the year.
The best track on the demo is Chemical Warfare, a track which is destined to be hungrily accepted by all thrash metal fans. Emerging on a sturdy energy the track patiently waits as the drums form a cage of steel and guitars welcome in the ear like an honourable gladiator. One established the song erupts in a riotous assault of cutting guitars, thunderous riffs, and knee buckling rhythms. With an intensity and anthemic power Municipal Waste would be proud of, the track is irresistible and soon has limbs punching air and voice in loud tandem for the chorus. The song does not go for the jugular at break neck speed or with the heaviest armoury but is easily a full and inspiring thrash explosion. As they thump the senses into submission the band remind of the likes of fellow Serbians CounterignitioN and UK band Saqqara, but with their own distinct weaponry.
Civilian Casualties slowly emerges with a simple guitar lead, its notes intriguingly leading into the again relentless pummelling of the senses. The track is a head bangers dream, its riffs and drums a contagious artillery of energy and strikes to have hair and neck in full lustful union. With vocals as caustic and direct as you wish but with the strength to allow clarity to the uncompromising lyrics and theme, the track is another formidable and deeply pleasing confrontation upon the ear.
Completing the release is Revolution, a song which does not quite live up to the power and irresistible pull of the other two but is still a thoroughly enjoyable slab of muscular metal. It like the release as a whole leaves one as breathless and wishing there was more to come.
War Engine is a band which will find a great welcome from thrash fans everywhere and whether it is this demo or their forthcoming album which is the trigger you cannot not see any other outcome. With future radio play coming through The Bone Orchard at The Reputation Radio Show, War Engine are on the march.