Warfather – Orchestrating the Apocalypse

warfather-orchestrating_the_apocalypse

We can look at objects as their surface traits, or attributes they have in different categories at different times, or look at them as shapes (or even forms) which manifest themselves in those attributes. When this logic is applied to genres, we quickly see how complex the term “death metal” can be.

If you ask your average journalist about death metal, s/he will start listing off descriptors, like heavy distortion, guttural vocals, intense riffs, blasphemic and occult topics. The implication will be made that all of these things together make death metal and yet, four average musicians could bash out an album of Dolly Parton covers using those attributes in an afternoon and it would be no more like death metal than the original.

What holds death metal together is its internal language where riffs correspond to structure. The process of assembly, called “riff-gluing” by Bob Bacchus of Soulburn/Asphyx, means knitting those riffs into a narrative where they both comment on one another and lead to a series of mood or atmosphere changes in the whole which suggest some kind of event, realization, journey or gesture. With this approach, the death metal style of riffing is inevitably invented, as is the need to have vocals take a background role and guitars to lead and dominate over drums, bass and vocals. Even if death metal had zero influences before it, if people set out to reinvent it based on that idea alone they would end up with something a lot like underground death metal.

Warfather combines the charging high-speed riffs of Angelcorpse, the abrupt transitions and chanted choruses of Hate Eternal, and the love of sweeps and odd melodic twists of post-metal and metalcore. In doing so, it loses sight of what makes death metal a whole, and instead takes the pieces it finds most convenient and makes out of them something else. Because this something else lacks a centrality, it must choose between being so chaotic it becomes boring or so repetitive that it becomes boring. Warfather choose the latter and pound out catchy choruses and verses with strident rage guiding the vocals, but have nothing to unite them while seeking to break them up with flourishes to disguise the lack of development. Songs do not ramble, but charge in different directions and then resume back at the starting point before fading away. While there are some good riffs on here they are lost in a void of context. The end result is organized disorganization where all the pieces fit together and mean nothing.

On paper, Orchestrating the Apocalypse seems like it would offer everything a journalist uses to describe death metal: the riffs, the vocals, the loudness and perhaps even the blasphemy. As a listening experience it misses the intensity of death metal by a mile through focusing on these surface traits and missing the motivation to put them in a meaningful order that made death metal so terrifying, mindblowing and vertiginously exciting. All that remains is to finish this review and move on.

17 thoughts on “Warfather – Orchestrating the Apocalypse

  1. fenrir says:

    Great explanations and descriptions. I wish the average smart person would take music seriously enough to read and understand such explanations.

  2. Ara says:

    The drummer often sounds like he’s not even on the same planet as the rest of the band. It’s a shame- Steve Tucker should know better.

  3. Phil says:

    There is an easy way to tell apart the genres:

    Death metal = red and yellow cover art
    Black metal = black and white cover art

  4. Robert says:

    This is quite good. Somewhat reminiscent of The Chasm with their heavy, yet melodic take to death metal and the production. The vocals are a little off-putting in the mix and the structure of this song is very cyclic and I expected a lot more but it was a fun listen. I just hope they push other songs on the album a little further. I wouldn’t label it “metalcore” at all though, Brett.

    1. Ara says:

      Not good enough to join the ranks of death metal greats=metalcore. Where did you learn to genre-classify?

      1. Dr. Zuck Mydickerberg says:

        We learned to genre classify in Harvard. Well most of us, some others at Yale. So what is your point?
        Your band plays what real metalheads refer to as “gay metalcore” because it’s not death metal and it’s happy like a merry go around.

        1. Ara says:

          What’s a merry go around?

    2. fenrir says:

      This exactly what he said: “he love of sweeps and odd melodic twists of post-metal and metalcore”

      Stop reading things with a black and white attitude.

  5. Ara says:

    I think this band sucks, but if you guys think Steve Tucker is influenced by metalcore, you’ve lost it. Why are you guys on such a metalcore and hipster witch hunt? Who fucking cares if some frizzy-haired knob wears a Mayhem shirt? Why are you all so terrified? Why not just write about death metal instead of some fictional boogeyman? Death metal is not threatened by anyone and still and every other post on here is about metalcore and metalgate. It’s hilarious and makes you look like wimps.
    Would you rather every death metal fan looked and thought exactly the same? Sounds like a pop mentality to me. Uniformity is kind of what death metal rebelled against.

    1. Seriously Transgender says:

      Where the hell have you been? Metalcore has been stinking up our beloved music scene for years now. It is obviously the pop/sellout form of death metal art, don’t play dumb. Losers always want to drag you down to their level and flip it around on you.
      This site is inundated with hipsters attempting to infiltrate it’s ranks on a daily basis. Emo kids all grown up now, calling people here wimps, has gotta be the sweetest irony.

      1. This site is inundated with hipsters attempting to infiltrate it’s ranks on a daily basis.

        Lots of that, and also drive-bys from ragey employees of media outlets and labels who want us to feel bad about who we are. Bigots.

    2. Why are you guys on such a metalcore and hipster witch hunt? Who fucking cares if some frizzy-haired knob wears a Mayhem shirt?

      I think most people realize that this is a grab for territory. If you want to take over metal and change what people expect it to be, turn a bunch of your own people into metalheads and take over. Soon the industry will pander to them and anyone who wants to make any other form of music will go elsewhere because they’ll be ignored in “metal” as it is then.

      As a side note, I’d like to ask our commenters here to not descend to the levels of behavior found on other internet sites. We Can Do Better… and we should. The gents from Ara are here to talk music and it does not hurt us to treat them with geniality.

      As a second side note, I think Ara is too good for metalcore and should consider inventing a different style. Now that’s a controversial statement, but it also has merit. Ara is clearly heads above the rest of this genre, which is not an attempt to damn them with faint praise, but an honest observation. They could do more, that’s all I’m saying.

      Peace out my nillas, POCs, transgenders, non-heterosexuals, butterflies, unicorns and goats, or whatever you are.

      1. Ara says:

        We’ve never been a metalcore band.

        1. tiny midget says:

          i call dibs on being a unicorn brett.
          any objections to that?

  6. Ara says:

    And we appreciate the compliment, but, what I’m saying is that the falsehood you guys are worried about isn’t going to make your favorite records sound worse and your backpatches fall off. Whoever you think is abusing metal for the sake of a trend will be out of the genre and onto the next thing long before they can have an influence on where it’s heading.

    1. Whoever you think is abusing metal for the sake of a trend will be out of the genre

      The herd always loves the stupidest stuff, and so unless pushed back against, it prevails. Old school underground wisdom.

  7. Ara says:

    When you say we should invent another style and can be doing more, what would you like to hear? I’m all for constructive criticism, unless you’d like to save that for a review that I’m looking forward to reading the comments on.

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