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Cultural Warfare - Warmageddon

Label: M-Theory Audio
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8.5/10


Cultural Warfare out of Oakland is not a news headline - - it's a modern day Bay Area Thrash band, coming at you with a fermented, unfiltered attack that recalls the grimy, gritty underbelly of the genre. This is not the Thrash that hit the pre-Grunge mainstream, that eventually found its way into giant arenas and reality celeb TV shows; this is the kind that existed only in mosh pits on dingy, beer-slick club floors, barely kept in check by underpaid security thugs, as opening acts for bands who were internationally loved, but still had to work day jobs to pay the bills. That's what this article means by Cultural Warfare.

 

Their 2018 "Warmageddon" record is dripping with snarl and attitude, hearkening to the music of Helstar, Testament, Nevermore, Exodus, Nuclear Assault, Overkill, the first Megadeth record, the first Anthrax record, Forbidden, the heaviest of Metallica, Slayer, Heathen, Atrophy, Six Feet Under, Razor, and maybe Strapping Young Lad’s early stuff. While CW’s songs bring aggression and elbows-out brutality to stoke the meaner side of the mosh pit, they also deliver solid lead melodies and musicianship. Vocalist Jacques Serrano’s clean range and palette should please old-school Metal fans of all stripes. His singing voice sometimes reminds of James Rivera (Helstar), occasionally Neil Turbin (Anthrax’s “Fistful of Metal” record), and often the ghost of the great Warrell Dane (Sanctuary, Nevermore).
But damn, this is a terrible-sounding record. The songs themselves are strong, varying from B+ to A-, but the production gets an F. I’ve ranked this album as an 8.5, but it would easily have been a 9 or even 9.5, with acceptable engineering. The cymbals and higher-frequency sounds are riddled with static. A decent song like “Politikill” really suffers because of it.
The poor production adds an unnecessary challenge for the listener, but it doesn’t ruin the album. I still strongly encourage you to seek “Warmageddon” out. The songwriting, playing chops, the spiked-leather power, and their faithful devotion to Thrash on their debut make Cultural Warfare a band to watch. Get ready for their star to rise.

 
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