Warbringer - 01/07/2009

With the release of 2008's ‘War Without End’, WARBRINGER established themselves as one the most ferocious young thrash bands on the planet. With the chainsaw guitar riffs of John Laux and Adam Carroll accompanied by the evil screams of John Kevill, the band pillaged cities worldwide and established a rabid hardcore fan base after months and months of touring. WARBRINGER is ready for 2009 with the release of ‘Waking Into Nightmares’ and they have already begun a massive touring campaign to scorch the rest of the globe.

Breaking through the mainstream metal underground at a time when the term “Thrash Revival” was being coined, WARBRINGER struggled and 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. The band continue to carve out their place in metal history with the addition of a new rhythm section (Ben Bennett and Nic Ritter) whose added progressive overtones can be heard on ‘Waking Into Nightmares’. WARBRINGER is not a tongue-in-cheek act, but a viable and deadly force looking to continue driving and perfecting the sound that so many thought had died in the early '90s.

On ‘Waking into Nightmares’, WARBRINGER was able to collaborate with true guitar hero and metal legend Gary Holt (Exodus), who produced the newest offering at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, CA. The record was mixed and mastered by Zack Ohren (Suffocation, All Shall Perish) with cover artwork completed by the extraordinary surrealistic Dan Seagrave (Morbid Angel, Entombed, Malevolent Creation). While still new to the band, both Bennett and Ritter play a huge part in the band's redefined sound delivering a massive bass tone and very ambitious and unexpected drum work, combined with the band's already lethal riff work WARBRINGER has reached a new level of complexity and brutality; leaving metal heads with even more reason to check out WARBRINGER's punishing live show. The band toured the US with Exodus, Kreator, Soilwork, Nile, and Overkill and Europe with Napalm Death, Suffocation, and Sworn Enemy. In 2009, it does not look to be any different. With over 200 US shows already planned, and a European tour in the works chances are you will be seeing much more of these thrashers soon, so prepare for TOTAL WAR!



WARBRINGER released their much anticipated sophomore album ‘Waking Into Nightmares’ on May 25, 2009 via Century Media Records. So there was much to talk about, here can you read what John Kevill (vocals) had to say about WARBRINGER’s latest effort.


Congratulations on the release of your new album ‘Waking Into Nightmares’ which will be out soon, of course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it. 


First of all, could you start this interview off with a short introduction of the members, the origin of the name of the band and a quick update on Warbringer? 


John: The name of the band came in a brainstorming session for a band name, it was started by John Laux and I, and the current lineup also includes Adam Carroll on guitar, Ben Bennett on bass, and Nic Ritter on drums. As far as the record goes, the rhythm section is new but both of those guys have been playing with us for a while. Andy Laux, our original bass player, was still in high school when we released ‘War WIthout End’ and he couldn't do the tours so we asked our friend Ben to do the dates. After 3 tours together we realized how well we gelled and we just kept him in the band. Andy is now going to college and isn't playing in another band. Ryan Bates, the drummer on War ‘WIthout End’, quit between the 2 European tours because the touring life was not for him and we held auditions in LA and Nic was one of the guys who tried out. He's a little older and brought a more technical style to the band which overall gives us more flavor and has made the band tighter and better players too.


How did you launch into writing material for ‘Waking Into Nightmares’ and how much time did you spend on the songs?


John: We toured for 10 months behind the first record and stopped touring in late October of last year. We had about two months to write the record, but we spent a whole lot of time in the rehearsal room working on it. We worked on it very concentrated for that time, almost every day. Considering the pressure we're quite proud of the results and think we have a focused, diverse, strong album.


What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘Waking Into Nightmares’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?


John: We wanted to make a tighter, sharper, more precise sounding record than the first. We wanted to keep the aggression of the debut and expand on it. Our first record had a more raw, old school production but this time we wanted to take make a loud, in your face, metal album.


Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘Waking Into Nightmares’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?


John: It is awakening into a horrid reality. The title comes from dreams John Laux has where he feels like he's awake in some awful circumstance. To me it also says that the nightmare is real, since you wake and it is still there.

What about the lyrics, where do you get your inspiration from and can you tell me something more about them?


John: They often just come into my head when I'm hearing some music, but some reflect some demoralizing outlooks on things that I have. I try to keep them either very violent and aggressive or very hopeless sounding.



How important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music?


John: Very important. Take any song and change the main hook lines in it to some dumbly written ones and the song will be taken down quite a bit, even with the same riffs and instrumentation.


Can you give us a little background about the songs on the album? Is there a story behind them?


John:  Each song has its own little story or concept that goes with it. "Severed Reality" is about being stuck in a horrific psychedelic realm and unable to return to reality, "Forgotten Dead" is about World War One trench warfare, "Jackal" is about murder and betrayal. All of them have something a little different.


What is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you? Is there any typical way that your songs comes into being?


John: For us I think it is sustained intensity. We try to balance the speeds and riffs so that it keeps the adrenaline going as much as possible. Also I think it's very important for a song to have a hook or two in it, too many bands have songs that go in one ear and out the other now. We jam our songs out, and tinker with them in the jam room and bash them into shape.


How can we imagine you work on new songs, what's the typical writing process like for Warbringer? 


John: We jam our songs out, and tinker with them in the jam room and bash them into shape. It isn't any set way but everyone brings their ideas to the table and we try to make the best songs we can with everyone.


What comes first, lyrics or melodies?


John: It is not set in any way; sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes riffs, sometimes a drumbeat even. Whenever anyone has an idea we all start working on it usually and forge a song around it.


After the release of your previous album ‘War Without End’ Andy Laux (Bass) and Ryan Bates (Drums) left the band and soon after that Ben Bennett and Nic Ritter stepped in.  Did this line-up change have an influence on the new songs? 


John: Yes, both of their styles went into the music while we made it and their ideas as well. I think you can see somewhat of a change in direction between the two albums and that is definitely a part of it. Our new rhythm section is very prominent in the overall sound of the new album.


How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio?


John: We went up to Oakland to Sharkbite studios, we had 2 weeks booked but we finished the record 2 days early. It was different than the first album as we did that in Bill Metoyer house over 3 months and just recorded here and there a couple of hours. This time we fully immersed ourselves by getting out of town and even sleeping in the studio at night.


Did you work differently than you did on your previous album?


John: Yes, the recording on this album was much longer hours and more focused, and over a smaller period of time. I think this helped in the end result.


What do you think are the main differences between your debut album ‘War Without End’, and you new album ‘Waking Into Nightmares’?


John: The arrangements are generally more intricate on the new one, and there's some more death metal influence than on the first. The playing and production are also a lot tighter this time around.



‘Waking Into Nightmares’ was produced by Gary Holt, what made him the perfect man for Warbringer?


John: He definitely understands the thrash sound, and how to make a guitar sound fucking heavy. We had the idea to ask if he'd be interested in producing and it came together really well. We became friends with Gary as Exodus was the first band we opened for when we started touring the US. They've been a great help to us.


In which things/songs on the new album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?


John: The tightness in the performances and the guitar tone are where you can really hear his influence. The actual songs themselves were written before we went in the studio and there were no major changes to those.


Which element of the album are you most proud of?


John: I'm very proud of my vocals on the album, on this one I am finally starting to feel really confident about what I am doing.


Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics? What are you personally into?


John: I love nature, history, and value logic. The history interest goes a long way for writing about the war themes.


Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that matter?


John: They aren't terribly important, someone somewhere is always going to love you and someone is always going to hate you. We usually get a good response which is nice, but I see my own happiness with the music we make to be more important.


What have been the highlights and low points throughout your career?


John: The first tour was probably the hardest; we were falling behind the tour in severe blizzards for a while. Anytime we get sick on the road is a lowlight. The rest has all been good. I'd say an absolute highlight was playing Wacken last summer though.



What makes Warbringer different from the other Modern Thrash Metal bands out there?


John: I think we have our own style, we are not a party-thrash band at all. I think if you listen to us next to any old or new thrash band you can tell it is us.


What do you think of the thrash revival that’s going on right now with all those new thrash metal bands like Evile, Warpath, Bonded By Blood, Gamma Bomb, Municipal Waste and, of course, you guys? 


John: I think it's a good thing, people are playing thrash metal again. Some of the bands are good and some aren't that interesting, but I will take standard thrash over say deathcore any day.


What goals did you have when the band started out and how do those goals stand now?


John: We just wanted to play some music and have some fun. Now obviously things are quite different, we want to tour as much as we can and build the band up as much as we can, while still playing the music we love.


Are there any particular bands who’ve been a big influence in your song writing, metal or otherwise and which album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?


John: Kreator's first 5 albums were a huge influence, they pretty much cover the spectrum of what thrash should be. There are many others though who are also influences.


Where do you see the band going within the next couple of years?


John: Hopefully we’ll stay out on the road through next summer and spread our name across the globe! Where will we end up? Only time will tell.


Anything left to say to our readers?


John: Hails, hammer on!




Thanks for your time. 

Eugene Straver




John Kevill - Vocals

John Laux - Guitar

Adam Carroll - Guitar  

Ben Bennett - Bass

Nic Ritter - Drums


Former Members:

Emilio Hoschet - Guitar

Evan Reiter - Drums

Victor - Guitar

Ryan Bates - Drums

Andy Laux - Bass


Albums :

(2006) - One By One, The Wicked Fall (EP)

(2008) - War Without End

(2009) - Waking Into Nightmares