Review: Shrapnel Storm – Mother War

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Have you ever woken up to the sound of your friend inviting you to a show of a band you’ve never heard of, only to attend and find out she wasn’t going to show up? I did, but at least I got myself some meaty death metal makers to follow. But how could they possibly have managed even a reasonably noticeable full-length in such an over-saturated genre? 

Sometime after discovering the art of music, man discovered a harsh truth: it’s much harder to make good music than bad music. Soon, man discovered another harsh truth: it’s even harder to make good music if you’re trying to make music like the music created by predecessors you so admire. You need to be either instantly recognizable or the best at what you do. When listening to the simplest and most overdone styles these facts become most prevalent. Whether you’re playing stripped-down blues or meat-and-bones death metal, you generally have to be pretty stellar to gain recognition. If you happen to play the latter, utilizing war-themes and mid-tempo isn’t going to help you very much.

Shrapnel Storm happens to be a war-themed, meat-and-bones death metal Jagpanzer. About as subtle and graceful as a tank. But surely as the tracks keep moving the band keeps grooving, seemingly over any obstacle. If you’ve ever paid attention to me you may have noticed that I’ve written a thing or two about them before. Their demos have been good, but somewhat inconsistent. Now we have a full-length in our hands.

As expected, the songs move mainly in mid-tempo and almost ten years of existing (apart from the new drummer, the line-up has been intact since 2011) have left the band a tight unit. There’s plenty of groove on this record, but that doesn’t mean nauseating nu-riffs. The drums and bass groove like any good rhythm section should; even when the rest of song doesn’t. Now, I know I’ve probably made this claim one too many times when writing about Shrapnel Storm – so much, in fact, that I pledge never to do it again – but these guys are serious contenders for Bolt Thrower‘s throne, now that they won’t release any more albums. I know many would argue that throne would belong to the great Hail of Bullets, but with Mother War, Shrapnel Storm sounds more like the former than anything the latter has done.

Everything Mother War loses in originality, it gains back by nearly achieving the aforementioned stellar-ness. There are riffs, a few melodies, riffs, strong low growl, riffs, nice solos (like the one on “Radar’s Down”, played by the underrated Zachary Hietala) and a few more riffs. It may not be the riff-iest damn album you’ll hear all year, but it tries, goddammit. It tries.

Only one song on the album has been featured on their previous demo releases and, despite its facelift, “Detracked” feels a tad weaker than the rest. Which further goes to prove a point: This band keeps getting better, and Mother War is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of their material in quality.

As far as the sound of the album goes, Mother War is a well-produced piece of death metal. It’s a rather short album, and the faster songs like “Radars Down” and “Combat High” keep the whole varied enough.

Along with the aforementioned songs, the crushing “Carpet Bombing”, “Warfiend”, and the more downhearted “Rising Storm” each prove high points. There is nothing new here – nothing that hasn’t been done countless times before – but this is still one of the finer death metal releases I’ve heard all year. A must get for any fan of the genre.

1.5 / 5 FLUSHES

(the fewer flushes, the better)

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  • DCLXVI

    Someone say ByahhhThrower?

  • Brent Hinds

    I might really dig this style of Bolt Thrower worshiping death metal, but I hate metal… I always fucking have. Enough about Death Metal since it sucks (Ginger Baker would agree with me). Here’s really what I what to say:

    Dear “Me” fans,

    My favorite Mastodon lyrics to sing are “Hey ho! Let’s fucking go!”. Over and over again I sing that line (I’m a really good singer). It’s the best thing Mastodon has done because it’s not fucking metal at all!

    P.S. Lars and I are having a great time now that we are both out of the closet. We really are closer to each other than ever before; I can’t wait for our time alone tonight. Should be magical.

    http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn42/CodeAires/Mastodon/Brent%20Hinds/212.jpg

    • God

      Now kiss

    • The Battle Born NDN
      • Brent Hinds

        I keep this performance in my portfolio. It’s one of my paragon moments.

        • You had a throat infection and you keep it up. Dude’s so metal… Woops!

          • Brent Hinds

            Dave Grohl bet me 10 million dollars to screech like a cat for that concert. So I fucking did, dudes an asshole becouse he’s such a nice guy.

          • God

            I hate Dave Grohl because I can’t find a reason to hate him.

          • Brent Hinds

            I’m an asshole to him because he’s nice and he gives me great tattoo placement tips.

          • Shrimp in a Pizza Box™

            But you DO have a reson to hate him, so you cannot hate him because you can’t find a reason to hate him because you hate him because you cannot find a reason to hate him.

          • God

            Oh Jesus Christ it’s a good thing I’m immune to paradoxes.

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            My head hurts.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Oy vey! Didn’t know Witches Brew had a Bandcamp page – shoukd have guessed. They had some trouble shipping and no copies have arrived in Finland yet >:|

  • Dagon

    You know what they (Deee-Lite) say, groove is in the heart.

    http://33.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lzipnrXWNU1qfk4jio1_500.gif

    • The W.

      You’re going to send Joe on another Aubrey Plaza bender.

      • Dagon

        I would tell him to hold my hand as we go through it together but I think he would rather not.

        • Joes can’t breathe underwater like fish.

        • God

          I can join.

          • Dagon

            I got Poseidon on speed dial let’s get it

          • God

            Awesome. Being an immortal being is the tits.

          • Brent Hinds

            Did you find the “White Whale”?

    • Brent Hinds

      Hey I can get you back stage baby, I’ll fight some mother fuckers for you.

  • Maik Beninton™
  • The Battle Born NDN

    I like what I’m hearing!

    Also, Carpet Bombing is a siqq song title.

  • I have a massive bleach addiction someone needs to help me…

    • Shrimp in a Pizza Box™

      Bleach the thing used to wash plates or Bleach the anime? We might need Joe to help if it’s the latter.

      • Sir Tapir the Based™

        It’s the former. Smitty ain’t a dirty weeb.

        • God

          Either way, both are terrible.

          • The W.

            I thought everyone got the weeb out of their systems on Saturday so it would stop bleeding out.

          • God

            The weeb knows no stopping point W. It’s an incurable affliction.

          • The W.

            I wouldn’t call it incurable.

          • God

            I would. Oh it’s manageable, but the weeb is always lurking, waiting, feeding…

          • The W.

            I moreso meant that there are certain solutions…

          • God

            Such as?

          • Shrimp in a Pizza Box™

            It involves a locker.

          • God

            So joe + shoving into a locker + upside down = no more weeboo.

            *takes notes*

          • Shrimp in a Pizza Box™

            If they listen to Babymetal you might need to throw the locker in the middle of the ocean.

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            What is that good for? The solution to being a weeb is being powerbombed into the ocean. If that doesn’t work hit the person with an acoustic guitar over the head.

          • KJM

            Choke on that, slapnuts! WHAM!!

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            I’m the one with the stroke around here, not those weebs!

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Actually the best way to get rid of a weeb is to mutilate them with a knife.
            #StabbyTapirFacts

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            That’s a more permanent solution.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Permanent solution is the only solution. Preemptive strikes are also good. You’re friend says that he’s interested in anime? Stab him!

          • Wowowowowow, I was just being a good half-elf promoting the band.

            You’re being very mean here.

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            I was joking.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            #LeaveLinkAlone

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            #LeaveJJDAlone

          • Who?

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            I’m talking about myself silly!

          • mmmmm, i haven’t seen JJD in a long time. i figured he quit.

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            Jimmy plz! Don’t make me make you listen to Loggins & Messina!

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            – using “X plz!”? Check
            – mentioning a dad rock band? Check
            Guys, I think Kevin Nash = JJD!

          • You don’t have to be that mean. That tells bad stuff about you!

          • KJM

            Link plz!

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            Im sorry if I offended you.

          • Brent Hinds

            I also hate fucking weebs.

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            Who doesn’t?

        • Axl and I are reading to the children right now please don’t bother me in the meantime.

      • Bleach….the drink…

    • Kevin Nash & Friends

      Advice: go to rehab or the hospital. Bleach isn’t a safe thing to ingest.

    • KJM

      Switch to antifreeze.

      • I just can’t simply SWITCH to antifreeze, it takes years of dedication. You know what? Fuck it. I’m still going to drink bleach, snort sugar, and inject mustard into my body.

    • Sir Tapir the Based™

      Advice: od on bleach plz.

    • Jormungandr

      Well, it’s mostly water. And we’re mostly water. Therefore, we are bleach.

      • What about the mustard and the sugar?

        • Jormungandr

          Switch to pixie sticks, in moderation. And I hate needles and mustard, so you’re clearly a terrible person.

          • I can’t just simply SWITCH to pixie sticks! I am and always will be a sugar junkie!!

          • Jormungandr

            You’re being unreasonable.

          • Jormungandr

            You’re being unreasonable.

          • I’m not being unreasonable, I just can’t help my addictions. It’s like smoking styrofoam, once you start, you can’t stop.

  • Check out Nordling, pretending to like music.

  • Brent Hinds
    • Kevin Nash & Friends

      I prefer Pet Sounds and the more experimental Beach Boys stuff.

      • CT-12

        Pet Sounds is way more cerebral and depressing than I think people give it the credit for.

    • Pretentious is Kvlt O)))
  • Meanwhile people ignore Beargod. I always pay attention to the tunes he shares in his reviews and news.

    I like to bomb toilets with this band music in the background; pretending my turds are bombs.

    Good stuff. Good review.

    • God

      I upvoted a comment about pooping to death metal. My afterlife is pretty awesome.

      • I like how our both avatars have dots as eyes.

        • God

          We are probably twins

          • Shrimp in a Pizza Box™

            Mine are really big dots, do they count?

          • God

            Yes. Welcome shrimp brother.

          • Trill, Jive… And Swell?

            I’m literally three dots, can I join the gang?

          • God

            Hmmm. I’ll allow it.

        • Guppusmaximus

          I’ve probably got two dots as well but you can only see one because I’m eternally yelling to the left…Am I in?

          • COME ON OVER! 😀

            WE HAVE TOGA PARTY AT 9PM, SPONSORED BY GOD.

          • Guppusmaximus

            So, basically, @ 9pm he just makes the current, ongoing, Universe-wide Toga party accessible to us Humans on Earth? lol

          • And to half elves too! not that we’re are a lot of half elves around here, but we’re invited for maximum toga mayhem.

          • Guppusmaximus

            My bad… I sometimes forget that I’m a giant, mechanical, industrial, soul crushing guppy with sharp teeth but I’m a person too! Yes, Half Elves usually cause more mayhem in terms of Toga parties! 😛

    • Ignoring Nordling Rites of Karhu? That’s a paddlin. Unless you’re Tapir…

      • Sir Tapir the Based™

        Ignoring Nordling Rites of Karhu? That’s a good!

        • Kevin Nash & Friends

          Tapir plz! He’s not that bad!

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Yea he is. Helsinki = eeevil!

  • Beargod, should we include Zachary Hietala to our list of “underrated guitar players”? That solo is tasty.

  • The W.

    Jamming now, Shardik. This ain’t bad.

    • The W.

      “Warfiend” has some dope stuff happening.

  • Scrimm

    Solid album.

  • Ey for real though Beargod this shit is rock fucking solid.

  • KJM

    This would’ve been Rush show number 12 if SeaPAC at Old Orchard Beach, ME hadn’t suffered damage from T-Storms in May 1990.

    • CT-12

      Ayy dude, you hear Windhand’s releasing a new album in September? I’m fucking stoked. Also, they’re gonna tour in the fall with Danava and Monolord!

      • Mono means one, and Lord means Lord.

        • CT-12

          You have confused me today Jimmy

          • Simpsons: “Marge vs. the Monorail”
            Lionel Lanley instructs that “Mono means one, and rail means rail”.

          • KJM

            Mono = One
            Lord = Lord

      • KJM

        You mean the tour that isn’t coming to Boston? Yes, I’m aware of it. -___-

        • CT-12

          Ahh fuck man, sorry to hear duder

          • KJM

            If it’s my only chance to see Monolord in the near future, I’ll have to grab a Greyhound to NYC.

  • KJM

    We got the ‘Between The Wheels, Camera Eye’ version of the set list which is what I was hoping for. Geddy even said something to the effect of “maybe we’ll see you again sometime”. However, if this ends up being the last time I see them, I couldn’t have asked for a better final show from them.

    However, I will say, this is the first time I noticed that Neil looks a bit beat up. The effort he puts into his performance is finally starting to show.

    • Brent Hinds

      I’m super pretend Jealous dude.

      • KJM

        (not taken by me cos I was in nosebleed heaven)

        • Brent Hinds

          Sorry to hear about Neal. That’s a huge bummer and loss.

          • KJM

            Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not surprised that he’s the one who wants to stop touring so much.

          • Brent Hinds

            Nah, It’s no surprise at all. He was always the shy one and he was always the hardest working one.

          • KJM

            Geddy seems like he could keep going for another 10 years, Alex as well to a lesser extent.

          • Brent Hinds

            Hahaha! Yeah, Geddy and Alex always seem to be in good terms. When you drum like Neal though, you are bound to give up at some point when it comes to touring.

          • KJM

            Neil also had to deal with the tragedy of losing his wife and child within a year of each other back in 1997(the event that prompted the great hiatus). I’m sure that still weighs on him.

          • Brent Hinds

            Yeah, I remember that. Horrid.

  • KJM

    Special Guest Appearance by Tyrion Lannister? It happened.

  • KJM

    2112

  • KJM
    • Brent Hinds

      YES! Awesome duder!

  • KJM

    And now I wait for the internet faeries to post some lossless audio. Someone definitely recorded it. There was no pat down at all.

  • Lacertilian

    *bangs head furiously*
    m/ This is good shit @nordlingritesovkarhu:disqus
    Mother War is a popular song title in DM it seems
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fyS8xCgIVg