As Neowarfare, the debut album from Spanish black/death metallers Tsar Bomb began its onslaught the thought was there is some great things going on here but why is the enjoyment not quite matching those thoughts. By its end and admittedly after only the first listen the trio from Malaga had won the battle, whether by their corrosive sound overwhelming defences or by simply proving they do match those individual elements is still not clear but the album emerged as one rather pleasing slab of abrasive nastiness.
Neowarfare does take a little warming to, though as mentioned it is not hard to see the ideas and craft at play from the very start. It is like an itch or sore wound, the more it persists and you pay attention to it the more the discomfort turns into a sweet kind of pain. Quite simply Tsar Bomb would make the perfect house band to a Cenobite owned Hellraiser world. With the lyrical themes of the album contemplating the ‘destruction of humanity through the unleashing of massive weapons of destruction developed by a degenerate group of apes (as Lucifer looks on with sadistic pleasure)’ it all has a symmetry which is meant for each other.
Formed in 2009, the band has evolved through numerous line-up changes to this point in time meaning even their live debut was not possible until 2011. Another change meant a delay in the release of Neowarfare, but with the settled union of Ocram (vocals/drum programming), Ivan (guitars /drum programming), and Lord Cabal (bass/ backing vocals) in place, the album finally arrives via badGod Music.
It is a sonic scourge on the senses, first winning the battle to control thoughts and emotions and then compelling allegiance through waspish grooves and spiteful intensity, not to mention pummelling rhythms. Actually when we say waspish grooves it is more accurate to say melodic constrictions of a giant hornet nature, the astringent and acute rubs blisteringly mesmeric and eventually irresistible. The whole album is unleashed at speed and with rampaging intent, never allowing a breath to be taken or energy wasted on lighter things musically or lyrically.
From the arrival of an imposing and intimidating force through the opening intro, the album erupts through the vicious Tsar Bomb. Like a horde of plagued ridden rats the riffs scurry all over the senses gnawing at and disrupting synapses and comfort, whilst the vocals of Ocram chew on and spit out words with sheer malice to match the sonic war in progress. The song no matter how many times it is invited to do its worse is an uneasy ride, its caustic breath a perpetual erosion of the senses to shy from but welcome.
As Victorious Death and Nuclear Feast lay waste the grooves find a more precise though no less violent stature, their tight manipulative sound veining brawls of energy and intent. By this point one remembers that the drums are programmed and it has to be said that though you can tell they are not organic they are a seamless addition which only adds to the wall of malevolence rather than stand out for what they are.
As the title track sucks more air from the lungs with its consumptive energy the balance is definitely tipping in the bands favour and from this point they become an eagerly sought contagion. The hornet sound is at its height now, the sonics stinging with every note whilst the massive riffs and energy numb relentlessly. The guitar of Ivan sends shards of flaming melodic spears through the air to further the pleasure and bring a diversity to what it we are truthful is a uniformal attack intensity and sonically across the whole album.
Tracks like Zyklon-B for the Human Race and the excellent Tupolev TU-95 show though that there is plenty to shuffle things up enough to keep a full attention and an open enough diversity to the release. The second of the two is a bear of a track, its red veins bulging as it demands subservience before unleashing a rain of pungent scorn in the shape of flesh stripping riffs, flaying rhythms, and another cutting intrusive groove. It is a riot, a maelstrom of sound which hurts and rewards simultaneously.
From an unsure start Neowarfare shows itself as a thoroughly pleasing assault of nihilistic beauty and malevolent energy, and Tsar Bomb a band who gleefully wait for your destruction whilst soundtracking its coming with sounds to relish and squirm to.
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