Poland has brought us some great death metal over the years, ranging from the classic death approach of Vader, the blackened hybrid of Behemoth and the technical death masterpieces from Decapitated. While it has certainly provided many more great examples, Polish death metal experimentation has certainly cemented these bands as pioneer practitioners of those genre blends.
Relatively new to the scene are Thunderwar, from Warsaw, who formed little over a year ago and released their debut EP The Birth Of Thunder by themselves, whilst beginning their crusade into the metal scene. Comprised of four young men with the passion of taking ‘a giant step to the next level’.
Modelling themselves after the work of bands such as Unleashed and Dissection among others, Thunderwar have successfully immersed the core sound of old-school death metal with various modern and melodic flavours.
The Birth Of Thunder’s opener ‘Vimana (The Chariots In Heaven)’ bears resemblance to the more suitable death metal opening tracks – in so far that it displays the slow-paced and deep chords, adjusting us for the imminent high speed ride. Before long, Thunderwar dish out a pulsating, vicious sequence of tremolo picked riffs that boast a melodic vibe whilst remaining furious and heavy. The tonal quality is also to be admired. Behind the complex riff patterns is a thunderous (no pun intended) bass tone, which when laid over a superb rhythmic drum pattern, permeating with fills, adds to the instrumental depth.
From a vocal standpoint, Thunderwar possess the growl-heavy presence of bands such as Vader – which is an appropriate quality to go with. ‘Shadows Of Lindisfarne’ demonstrates the vocals at their finest, where they are most prominent as well as most suited to the continued melodic death metal brilliance already displayed. This song combines an aggressively fast pace, whilst executing a vibe akin to thrash metal – closely reminiscent of Municipal Waste.
‘The Birth Of Thunder’ – in a strange turn of events, follows the intense thrash-death vibe with an instrumental acoustic interlude. Ominous notes played over the sound effect of fallen rain – not exactly new but considering the melody itself and harmonised chord sequences around it, it makes for an enjoyable atmospheric rock-esque piece of music. The acoustic leads interspersed between the chord segments are well-executed and succinct, while also providing a peaceful outro after the song’s climax.
Almost immediately, Thunderwar return with their previously displayed death metal experimentation, and pick the pace back up within seconds of ‘Eagle Of Glory’. More elements of thrash and melodic death are brought into the picture to solidly improve the record’s continuity and depth. The vocals still are on form, as punishing as ever. Rounding the song off is a ferocious solo and in adequate fashion, ties off the EP in an appropriate way.
The Birth Of Thunder is an EP that offers stand-alone qualities that set Thunderwar apart from their death metal brethren – and the band certainly possess the ability to craft something distinct and full of flavour. Perhaps the slightest change is in order though – in regards to the vocals. While the growls are exceptionally deep and fit the tone in the best way possible – adapting is always a good way to add even more depth. Fully fledged screams, both high and low would go over the melodic death metal vibe as well as over the modern thrash licks on display. The growls shouldn’t be ignored, but the variance is always that more welcoming.
1. Vimana (The Chariots In Heaven)
2. Shadows Of Lindisfarne
3. The Birth Of Thunder
4. Eagle Of Glory
Kamil “Madness” Mandes – Vocals/bass
Witold Ustapiuk – Lead guitar
Maciej “Olszak” Olszewski – Rhythm guitar
Vit Argasinski – Drums