October 31st, 2012
Release length: 50:06
Much like many modern Thrash groups trying to revive the olden days, the album has a very crisp, even sleek quality to it. The guitars have a mildly thick distortion that is somewhat heavy, adding a decent blunt edge to the mix, while the bass isn’t that far off in tone, but still audible enough to be heard and make an impact to the rhythm, though has a stronger overall presence when the music is faster. The drumming is just behind those two, but still very loud. The cymbals sound excellent, though slightly drowned out from the tight to booming snares, and the deep click of the bass kick that can be masked into a thud depending how intense the other instruments are. The vocals retain that modern approach by being handled in a rougher shouting method, which works perfectly with the sleek digital production, and often aggressive music.
Born of the Bomb pushes well past the fifty minute mark, and with that comes plenty of hard-hitting tracks that reflect today’s concept of Thrash Metal. While nothing here is too politically charged, there’s still enough angst and rebellion to go around. “We Came to Conquer” feeds off the live set openner “All Hail” well. The band brings plenty of energy in every aspect, and some of the chords to the main verses end up a little on the dark and eccentric side, though the chorus brings in a catchy two-step that also finds some of the most enthusiastic vocals available on the album. You can feel a similar adrenaline rush in “Wage Slave,” but this time in the music, which perfectly accentuates the general frustration of employment today, and what the band is trying to push forward in their lyrics. The pace is met with some really catchy drumming, such as blistering double bass kicks with great control as far as timing goes. The only drawback here is that the guitar solo ends up a little hollow due to the bass not being deep or rich enough to maintain the rhythm properly until it slows down to include a little more emotion before it wraps things up.
It won’t take long for “Combat Mosh” to be a mandatory anthem for the pit. The intensity is pretty strong with this one, though the overall product is a little more controlled, as well as tighter. But it’s the breakdown that hits prior to the highly impressive solo that acts to help build the tension prior to that fast paced eruption, and the two-stepping riffs that make up much of the song outside of that area will have you wanting to throw down wherever you stand. While there’s a decent amount of aggression felt in the faster chords, the whole performance does still end up rather fun, and it’s easy to put this track on and just have a ball banging your head along to it, or slamming into the walls or nearby willing (and unwilling) pit participants. This feeling will quickly escalate during the band’s rendition of the song “Agents of Steel” by Agent Steel. This is easily one of the most memorable offerings, largely because of the range the band shows off. The vocals incorporate a rougher harmonization instead of just shouting, and there’s plenty of high falsettos being used as well, which is something other tracks, including the aforementioned “Combat Mosh,” pull off easily. The speed is nothing new to this release, but the bass plays more of a vital roll, making the increased speed one that easily tears your face right off in a superb tribute to a these Metal legends.
However, there are times that Lich King do change their material up, though not always for the better. “Agnosticism” is a slower track that takes advantage of the bass well. That instrument is far more dominant, finding the drums to be a little simpler as well to give the song a strong authority. The guitar solo also benefits nicely, as there are some additional riffs behind it that are simply held chords with the bass doing the same, filling things up a lot better than some of the previous technical rhythms. Things do pick up to a mid-pace that causes the solo to be a little more complex, but it also heads into a NWOBHM area that is just the perfect compliment to this rather heavy offering. Granted, this isn’t the most appealing of the songs, but it’s a welcome breath of fresh air from the intensity and speed that makes up many before and after. But, of all the songs on here, the track “Fan Massacre” is quite different, though not in a very unique way for the style. The main verses arne’t quite as dark as “We Came to Conquer,” but it does have a similar eccentric quality that gives a “puppets on a string” quality to the material. The music does shift into catchier riffs and drumming during the chorus and various bridges, but it doesn’t quite have the same level of rage. Instead, it comes off like a mild irritation than anything. Overall, this still is a good song, just a bit generic. This probably won’t be a problem at live shows considering who it’s geared towards, making this an obvious fan favorite.
Lich King have a pretty high and mighty thought of themselves and their talents, and even the digital flyer that accompanied the press release claims Born of the Bomb is “The best metal album of 2012” according to “everyone that hears it.” While this is a very bold statement, the band really isn’t that far off. Fans of the modern take on old-school Thrash Metal are surely going to love this album, though only one song really manages to slip through the cracks a bit. Soaked with the rage and aggression of today, Lich King continue to grow into an unstoppable force that can easily tear unsuspecting listeners limb from limb with what lies in wait on Born of the Bomb, making it an album you simply have to put at the top of your must own list, if not the must hear one at the very least.
01. All Hail – 2:09
02. We Came to Conquer – 5:43
03. Wage Slave – 3:51
04. In the End, Devastation – 4:36
05. Fan Massacre – 4:36
06. Agnosticism – 8:41
07. Combat Mosh – 4:39
08. Axe Cop – 4:57
09. Agents of Steel (Agent Steel cover) – 3:03
10. Lich King IV (Born of the Bomb) – 7:51
|Overall Score: 9.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Stormspell Records.