WARLORD – THE HOLY EMPIRE

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Warlord is an epic and cult heavy metal band from US led by William J.Tsamis and the master drummer Mark Zonder. The legendary release of the band came at 1983 as an EP, Deliver Us composed of 6 songs. For me, Black Mass from this EP stands as one of the best heavy metal songs ever. In the following years the band went through member changes especially on the singer side. The latest release were in 2002 with Joacim Cans (ex-Hammerfall) on the vocals. Rising out of the Ashes received various critics mainly regarding the singer. Many die-hard Warlord fans made harsh criticism on Joacim Cans. Honestly, i also think that he was not good at singing the old songs while he was fitting very well with the new sound.

When we came to 2013, the new album, the Holy Empire is released with again a new singer; Rick Anderson ( from Martiria, mainly a Christian epic metal band). In fact, the same words can be said for Rick Anderson regarding the old songs, but here, i loved his voice and his voice is really a vital part of the songs. In this album, we also see the guest vocals of Giles Lavery (Dragonsclaw) who later became the tour vocalist of the band. However, his presence in the band also remained short and Nicholas Leptos from Arrayan Path (Cyprus) is announced as the new singer.

It is always hard to define the style of Warlord, they are widely explained as epic metal but they are not just that. You expect a more powerful and a harder sound for epic metal which Warlord does not have. Especially, in this record, the guitar sound is very…soft, we can say. But, combined with powerful drums and great melodies, the music becomes catchy and memorable.

The album carries 8 songs with 55 minutes total running time. Three of the songs are familiar to Warlord fans while the rest are new releases.  Thy Kingdom Come, City Walls of Troy and Father are the ones that we either heard from Warlord and Lordian Guard.

We start with 70.000 Sorrows which is the best one in the album and shows all the characteristics of Warlord. This song also includes the fastest riffs of the album and a great support from Mark Zonder which is always a vital part of Warlord. He is a great musician and his skills and experience are the major values of Warlord.

This album is not a follower of Deliver Us or early Warlord but mostly seems as the follower of Lordian Guard music. Bill Tsamis is a great musician, composer and writer. All songs have the same nature; calm, dignified, mid-tempo music with always great melodies. We can just seperate Kill Zone from the others as this is more aggressive and a powerful song with the vocals of Giles Lavery. As a result, it is hard to find a filler or a weak song in the album and all songs have something to give.

On the lyrical side, we all know Bill Tsamis’ theology career and his love for Christianity. So, we get what we expect on the lyrical side, but with some question marks. Namely, Night of the Fury and Kill Zone have aggressive and disturbing lyrics with air raids, bombings and assault on Fallujah. Also, as a personal follower of Bill Tsamis on social networks, i have complex feelings about him. It is hard to accept some of his ideas and he seems to have a “high” over confidence. He also acts like he is the commander of Warlord fans and forms a  pecking order with the fans. Last, but not the least i witnessed the disastrous “Kreator” conflict, but no more comments for that…

After listing all these, the mentioned doubts do not get ahead of the music of Warlord. It is not easy to recommend this one to all metal fans especially due to the guitar tons and the general mid/slow tempo of the album. Sometimes, you don’t even see this as a heavy metal album.  Still, this is a very good release with great musicianship and traditional heavy metal fans or power metal fans will mostly love it. A recommended release from a cult band.

Rate: 8 out of 10

 

1. 70,000 Sorrows  371171
2. Glory
3. Thy Kingdom Come
4. City Walls of Troy
5. Kill Zone
6. Night of the Fury
7. Father
8. The Holy Empire

 

WARLORD is;

Mark Zonder  – Drums
Philip Bynoe  – Bass
Richard M. Anderson  – Vocals
William J Tsamis  – Guitars