REVIEW: Boris the Blade – Warpath [2017]


Artist: Boris the Blade 

Album: Warpath


Imagine every atrocity man has ever committed—big and small, lethal or superficial, primitive and instinctual or intellectual and calculated—envision them all in your head. Now imagine the soundtrack to them. To each and every instance of mankind’s acts of devastation and depravity, all happening in concordant harmony.

Come January 27th, you won’t have to imagine them anymore—because they will be upon us all in the form of Boris the Blade’s sophomore full length record, Warpath.

Truthfully, if anything could describe the activity of these Melbourne-based masters of murderous aggression since their debut EP, it would be a Warpath. Touring incessantly around the world—including back-to-back, coast-to-coast runs in the United States and throughout Europe, Warpath is the kind of practiced, punishing and powerful aggression that only comes with experience and exuberant, eviscerating loathing. Warpath is the sound of a band that has embraced their technical roots while cutting away the fat—doing away with superfluous speed and pointlessly flashy production to create an earthy and organic display of classic deathcore with a contemporary twist. Raunchy breakdowns, ruthless one-liners, grooves that segue into splintering, skin-shredding heaviness, Warpath is exactly what it claims to be—and there’s a good chance that by the time Boris the Blade are done, there won’t be much of a listener left.

From the first punishing bouts of bombastic percussion and skin-shredding displays of scathing fretwork, Warpath is wickedness in its most pure form. Every second screams intensity and raw, violent vigor—the sort of careless, cruel and unusual punishment that levels mountains and leaves nothing but devastation in its wake—but then again, it’s Boris the Blade; what did you expect? From the first fills and flying blast beats from Karl Steller’s talented fingers, Warpath shows off the kind of percussive prowess that fans of Boris the Blade have come to expect—albeit with a slightly more creative and less boisterous bravado. Where Tides of Damnation and The Human Hive made no attempts at downplaying the band’s penchant for ridiculous drumming, Warpath sees less focus on outright speed and more creative interplay with grooves, bouncy, catchy drumlines insanely heavy breakdowns. Now, before you stop reading, don’t stress—it’s still Boris the Blade, and the drumming is still ludicrous—but songs like “Backstabber” and “Misery” see Steller working much more at creating a dynamic, dialectic and conversational interplay with bassist Coby Chatz and guitarists Josh Lording and Cameron Eyre. Chatz’s low end is lurid, murky and murderous—amplifying every sickening, meaty thwack from Steller’s enormous-sounding kick drum. “Devastator” capitalizes on this, just as the song title would imply; with Chatz and Steller working together to create pure heaviness in a way that seems vaguely reminiscent of the band’s Tides of Damnation days. Meanwhile, guitarists Lording and Eyre are, simply put, at the top of their game. Never before have the duo worked so brilliantly together. “Elixir” opens with a moody, atmospheric touch that quickly dives into the profanely punishing, bordering on putrid, while “Paralyzed” follows a similar style—remaining slightly more mellow for slightly longer before crushing the listener beneath megatons of oppressive, metallic weight. Meanwhile, “Thorns” and “Omens” see Hickey roaring along at what feels like a million miles per hour with Chatz, Lording and Eyre having no trouble keeping up. Even Steller’s fleet feet on “Paralyzed” don’t throw the riffsmiths off their game; as, truly, it seems like nothing can, with the group brilliantly blending a cornucopia of metallic styles (from moody blackening to blistering technicality) into a stunning and engrossing listen.

However immersive and immense Boris the Blade’s instrumentation may be, it only scratches the surface on amount of engrossing and engaging material prevalent on Warpath. Every song is a sprawling instrumental canvas upon which frontman Daniel Sharp spills his guts as if his stomach was lined with razor blades. Sharp’s lyrics have taken a turn for the twisted, dark and intimate—where songs like “Warpath” showcase insanity and violence at the risk of self-devastation, the catchy and relatable “Backstabber” is a bold, dark and brutal take on betrayal. This trend continues, with Sharp touching on several themes throughout the Godless anthem “Misery” and the smothering, atmospheric “Elixir” that uses the band’s more metallic and dirging instrumentation to Sharp’s advantage. Songs like the eviscerating and gloomy “Elixir” play to Sharp’s grisly low growls and hefty, raw mid-range yells. Meanwhile, “Backstabber” sees Sharp oscillating all over his wide and ruthless range; from whispered one-liners to shrieks and shrill screams, matching the emotionally driven and energetic display of no-holds-barred hatred that is the song (and, by extension, the entire release). Sharp is a powerhouse, and where Boris the Blade may never have been a band previously praised for their vocal dynamism or lyrical depth, Warpath is an album that sees the group—Sharp especially—making great (and successful) strides to change that.

From Boris the Blade’s firth breath to their most recent and raunchy roars, they are a band hellbent on destruction from coast to coast—the freezing tip of the North Pole to the furthest reaches of Antarctica and everything in between is their target, and their hellacious and heavier-than-hell music is their weapon. An entire arsenal of blast-beats, blazing fills, brutalizing chugs and crunchy, crushing grooves await the listener—with every song sitting like a smoking gun barrel placed directly between the listener’s eyes. Whether it be the invasive and intrusive choruses of “Warpath” and “Backstabber” or the mature and murderous “Elixir,” Boris the Blade are truly on a Warpath—one that actually ends in the listener‘s annihilation.



For Fans Of: I, Valiance, Aversions Crown, Martyr Defiled, Oceano

By: Connor Welsh