Saturday 28 March 2020

War Dogs - Die By My Sword

Labels: Fighter Records/Witchcraft Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 09 Jan 2020


1. Die By My Sword
2. Castle Of Pain
3. Wings Of Fire
4. Master Of Revenge
5. Kill The Past
6. Ready To Strike
7. The Shark (feat. Bryan 'Hellroadie' Patrick)
8. The Lights Are On (But Nobody's Home)
9. Gorgon Eyes
10. Wrath Of Theseus

Relief is very much needed this evening. Having said that, it does feel strange talking about a Spanish band given how hard that country has been hit over the last couple of weeks. Valencian heavy/speed metal band War Dogs released their debut album Die By My Sword via Fighter Records back in January on vinyl and cd, while they worked with Witchcraft Records on a tape version. It follows their self-titled debut EP, which came out in 2018. 

If Zorro fronted a band, it’d sound like War Dogs. That’s not being disrespectful, it’s just the image that’s conjured when hearing this album’s title-track ‘Die By My Sword’. It’s melodic, skilfully played speed/traditional heavy metal with cleanly sung vocals that remind you of the character himself. It’s said that War Dogs contain elements of power metal and they may well do, but it’s not that obvious to these ears (maybe I’ve not listened to any power metal in a long time). What is obvious as ‘Castle Of Pain’ plays is that catchy instrumentation is something that this band does very well.

Speed metal is the overriding element throughout this album and ‘Wings Of Fire’ is where it’s at. The exhilarating intro that goes on for over sixty-seconds is perfect and leads to an equally frenetic song as a whole. I do enjoy this form of heavy metal but feel that sometimes albums can become quite staid and boring. So far, that’s not the case here as musically this is top notch. ‘Master Of Revenge’ is so upbeat and enjoyable, it makes you forget about all of the madness going on in the world right now. Even when it’s riffs become more chug-laden mid-way through, they still add to the excellence on show. 

As the metal drowns out the incessant noise made by my neighbours, the galloping tempo of ‘Kill The Past’ takes over. It’s a song that goes by in a flash of razor-sharp riffs and bass-lines, pounding percussion and soaring dual-vocals. Before you know it, you’re in the grips of ‘Ready To Strike’, which is another cleverly titled song as War Dogs really are ready to strike as they truly settle into the record. This is brilliant from start to end. They truly take on another form on ‘The Shark”, which features additional vocals from Bryan ‘Hellroadie’ Patrick of the legendary Manilla Road. It’s much more fantasy based, especially in the lyrical department but it’s also great fun and kind of reminds me of GWAR, maybe!

Things take on an Eastern form thanks to the vocal melodies of ‘the Lights Are On (But Nobody’s Home’). They’re very subtle tones but they work and add an extra element to the heavy metal of War Dogs here. Penultimate track ‘Gorgon Eyes’ picks up the pace again, making great use of the momentum gained throughout the album. It’s the shortest song here, which is the reason for the urgency and it works really well too. 

That momentum flows straight into album closer ‘Wrath Of Theseus’ and it’s the last chance you have to enjoy the pleasing heavy metal of War Dogs. There aren’t many opportunities to indulge in such pleasures at the moment but this is one of them and I’ll be damned if anything’s getting in the way. A great modern heavy metal album that deserves more attention. 

You can stream Die By My Sword and purchase it super cheap digitally below:-

You can buy the album on CD and vinyl from Fighter Records here - and on tape via Witchcraft Records here -

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