Wartooth – Virus EP Review

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Wartooth; if you haven’t heard of them, are an Australian thrash metal band based in Brisbane and part of a new wave of thrash metal bands on the rise in this corner of the world. These guys are so reminiscent of the old days of the Big Four, its a pleasure to hear if melodic thrash is your kind of jam and I can say from experience, they carry themselves live just as good as they do in studio recordings. Starting out as a passionate project between two brothers with Andy (Lead Guitarist/Vocalist) and Wally Knappstein (Drums) who just wanted to make something new and raw, Wartooth spent its first 2 years going through part time members, eventually completing it’s line up with guitarist, Kyle Doggett and several bass players in Dudley Grabsch, Brendan ‘Bread’ Chappell, Taylor Burnett finally landing on Jackson Van Den Bosch. These guys spend the majority of their time playing live shows keeping their skills sharp and refining their style. With such high energy and ripping high speed style, it’s awesome to have the opportunity to review their debut EP ‘Virus‘, so lets jump in.

Starting out hard and fast with Kingdom of Fear, Andy shows his ability to shred and assault eardrums kicking into a solo midway through before jumping into a dual harmony with Kyle. This track is great because it’s really a bit of a mixed bag of thrash. Hard and heavy, fast and ear splitting with great lyrics denouncing the world as we know it, setting the EPs theme in stone. The bass starts thick and opens the gates for Benevolent Destroyer’s intro to build up. Andy’s vocal range is greatly showcased during this song varying from highs to lows as well as Wally smashing out the backbone of the song on drums without skipping a beat. Benevolent Destroyer really keeps the fast tempo running strong from the first track and sounds like what could have been if Megadeth and Metallica had not been separate bands in the beginning. Especially the mid-song speech vocals (very reminiscent of Megadeth) which I loved as the echo effects are brilliant. The chorus really makes this track in my opinion and sets up the third song in terms of expectations.

The third track, Venomhead starts out fairly slow comparatively, but kicks into overdrive pretty quickly. Continuing with the brutality of the last song, Venomhead has a great chorus but pushes it further when Andy shreds out later in the song til Kyle take the reigns and drives it home effectively merging the solo almost seamlessly into the chorus to finish up the song. Its pretty damn catchy if I do say so and the abrupt end of the track makes for a clean slate for the forth track, Wired to Die, which I’ll say now is my favourite song on the EP. Kyle’s guitar work takes center stage in this song for sure and just shows how skilled and savage a guitarist he is. Aside from the powerful lyrics, the track really just takes the bar and raises it a few notches thrash-wise and with that, the tempo. Overall it spews forth speed, aggression, loud shrieking guitar-work and savage drumming and bass. It takes the brutal assault that is Wartooth as a whole and puts a megaphone in front of it, metaphorically speaking.

Luckily that’s not where it ends as we have our bonus track and its an awesome cover to finish off a greatly themed EP as a whole. World Painted Blood by Slayer, which is executed damn well. The fast paced vicious aggression really takes a pinnacle to end on a note like this and it only makes it clear what sort of music made this band what it is. With clear roots in the big four of thrash, Exodus, Testament and Overkill, this is what the thrash scene needs. New blood to carry the torch, born and raised by the genre they represent. I’m giving these guys a 4/5 for a solid EP. As a whole it sounds great and track 5 nicely blends straight back into track 1 if you have it on repeat, which is a green flag for me. I’m sure it won’t be long til a label picks them up and the sooner the better.

Track List
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1 – Kingdom of Fear
2 – Benevolent Destroyer
3 – Venomhead
4 – Wired to Die
5 – (Bonus Track) World Painted Blood – Slayer Cover

Wartooth’s EP ‘Virus’ is available in physical copies and digital copies are available via their official Bandcamp page