Why is it that South Americans are keeping traditional thrash metal alive better than anyone else? Did the mid-’80s just hit south of the equator? All joking aside, there is a purity in the metal that emerges from these exotic lands.
That thrash purity is evident on Warchest’s debut album, Aftershock (2010). Hailing from Chile, there’s not a lot of biographical information out there on this quartet, comprised of Jose Tomas Garcia (bass), Christian Pelaez (guitars/vocals), Patricio J. Palaez (drums), and Domingo Vial (guitars). What information is out there is in Spanish, and since I don’t speak Spanish I have to decipher that information like one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.
What I can gather is that Warchest see themselves as a groove metal band, but I don’t see much evidence of that. Neither do I see the “punk” that the press material advised me of. Warchest’s Aftershock is a thrash album through and through. I understand that the band made its first demo back in 2009 and that the label, Madness Records, began distribution of the album in 2011. Seems the metal machine is affected by siestas in Chile.
Warchest does sing in English, and as they say their lyrics deal in the human condition.
Influences are scattered and apparent on Warchest’s Aftershock, from Zack Wylde-style pinch harmonics to Ozzy-like vocal tones to Kirk Hammett solo tones to Iron Maiden-style dueling guitar solos to Megadeth-inspired riffage. Naturally, none of which is done as well as the masters, but a respectable job is done. And I can only speculate that the band drew its name from Megadeth’s box set of the same name, “Warchest.”
You can see these influences as Warchest work on Aftershock in the studio:
There isn’t an unlikeable song on Aftershock. How long it holds your attention is a subjective matter and your mileage may vary. I’ll say that it’s great in the car, pretty good on a run, and solid enough for repeat listenings.
The opening track, “Aftershock,” reminds me a lot of Annihilator’s “King of the Kill.” The track also contains a Lamb of God-style bass blast, as do “Fear of the Machine” and “Army of Revolution.”
While most of the songs are hard hitting with heavy riffs, blast beats, double bass action, etc., “Contradiction” is the thrashiest track on the album, and most likely to please purists.
The surprising track, and one of my favorites, on Warchest’s Aftershock is “Prelude/Let me Down.” It’s the down-tempo song that I guess could be classified as the band’s “One.” It hits an “inspirational” bone and in its outro it picks up and leaves you with some aggression.
The Verdict: [rating:3]
There’s something to be said for South American metal and Warchest proves that there’s still purity in the genre. This is an incredible debut album and I recommend it to any thrash fans out there. I’m really excited to see Warchest follow this up and the direction they go in. I don’t know how long I’ll keep Aftershock in rotation, but I’ll certainly revisit it again.
Rock Hard \m/