Warbringer takes time to catch up with CWG

Warbringer is a combat thrash band playing out of Ventura California. They played a summer tour of European festivals and are currently touring all over the West Coast, Midwest and Canada. They’ve played alongside the likes of Exodus, Kreator, Soilwork and Overkill.
Lead singer John Kevill took some time out of his hectic touring schedule to catch me up on what’s going on with the band, their tour and their album.

Q: Tell me about the origins of the band, how you came to be, etc?
A: It really started when John Laux and I, who had both been trying to form bands, met in his garage and started writing songs. From there we just tried to get a full lineup together, which took a good 6 months, and started playing shows and progressing forward.

Q: In regards to the “thrash revival”, your website says the band, “fought to distance themselves from the flock and the rest of their peers with an extremely aggressive energetic live performance and a determination to drive the old-school sound forward into the next decade with a sense of fresh air and originality.” It also describes you as, “combat thrash.” Talk a little bit about this on a more personal level. What have you done as a band and as individuals to set yourselves apart?
A: Well, we try to have our own sound and style within the old styled thrash metal sound. I think if you’ve heard us before you can pick out that a song is us very quickly. We tend to have songs that are structurally very quick and a very “no-party time” take on thrash metal. I think that’s part of what sets us apart, a lot of the neo-thrash bands go for the fun beer times sound, while we try to sound like getting shot repeatedly by machine guns or something. This is where the “combat thrash” description comes from.

Q: You guys are playing a touring schedule that is simply ridiculous, playing nearly every night for an entire year! Talk about why you do this and what the effect has been on you.
A: Well, we live in a van now, and because we are so active with it, the band is basically our whole lives. I think this is the reason we’ve gotten as much attention as we have though.

Q: A little more on this topic, do you prefer the ‘festival’ type of shows or the traditional clubs, concerts, headliners and opening acts kind of of events?
A: Depends! This last tour in Europe one day was the with full force festival, which was a massive gig, and onstage you just feel huge when you stand in front of that many people. A couple days later we were playing at this bar that was so small it didn’t even have a stage, but we were literally right in the people’s faces and I could reach and grab someone by the throat and those kind of things, making it really intense. Both were awesome shows for entirely different reasons.

Q: 08′ Brought “War without end” and 09′ brings “Waking into nightmares.” Compare the two, what you did differently, what worked and what didn’t, etc.
A: The most important difference I think is the increased tightness of the band, and the production being clearer and heavier. Waking Into Nightmares has a little more death-thrashing stuff on it I think, and also a bit more experimental stuff going on, where War Without End was a straight manifesto of “we are here to thrash.”

Q: On ‘Waking into Nightmares’ you got to collaborate with Gary Holt (exodus). Getting to collaborate with someone with his resume had to be something special. Talk about that a bit.
A: It was! Working with Gary was excellent, and I think he did a great job as the overseer of the project and getting a good sound and all of that. Adam Myatt the engineer gets a special mention too for being excellent.

Q: Playing out of Southern California brings out a lot of competition but also a lot of creativity. What would you say the pros and cons have been of where you are based and where you come from?
A: Well, as soon as we started playing shows we soon saw that there were other bands playing old-school metal like we are, and before long more and more started coming to the shows, and now there’s a royal shitload of bands playing thrash. That is both a pro and a con because it means there’s a scene and an audience for the music, but there’s also a pack you have to stand out from.

Q: The first song I heard on your website was, “living in a whirlwind.” The first thing I notice (within a few seconds) is the trademark thrash guitars (a riff eerily similar to Metallica’s “jump in the fire”). Is this song pretty typical of your guitar style(s)? What are your guitar influences, your ‘guitar gods’, so to speak?
A: Ha, its funny whenever we get a Metallica comparison because John Laux is totally one of those guys who’s completely on the Megadeth side of the old Megadeth vs. Metallica battle, to the point where he never really listens to Metallica. I see a similarity for like the first 2 seconds of the riff myself, the whirlwind riff is a lot choppier sounding I think though where the jump in the fire riff is more melodic.
Anyhow, I can say that both John and Adam are very influenced by Chuck Shuldiner, Dave Mustaine, Kreator, Slayer, and also by the classic metal duos like Tipton and Downing. But both of them have a ton of wide-ranging influences.

Q: If I had to compare you vocally to someone I might say Enselmo from Pantera. Do you think that’s a fair comparison and is it one you might welcome?
A: Really? To tell you the truth im not much of a Pantera fan at all. I think I have more in common with the rapid-fire kind of thrash singers like Mille Petrozza, Tom Araya, Steve Reynolds, Rob Urbanati, Paul Baloff, etc.

Q: What do you (all) think about the state of thrash metal today and where do you think it’s going?
A: More and more people are interested in it because its non-bullshit metal! A thrash band is there to destroy your neck at high velocity, and to write an actual fucking song while doing so. I think that as with anything that’s current theres some overcrowding in the scene going on, but I think there are also awesome bands around too.

Thanks so much for your time, we’ll be following you with close eyes.

Warbringer can be found at: http://www.myspace.com/warbringer

Their upcoming shows will be all over the West Coast and Canada (and many more). See their website for more details.

Their latest album, Waking into Nightmares is in stores now.

And, as always, look for more of them in the future, here in the Continuum.


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