Considered by many to be the absolute heaviest form of metal, death metal has gone through a number of sonic changes over the years. My favorite kind of death metal is the old-school, evil sounding records produced by such bands as Deicide and Morbid Angel. Warfather, features Steve Tucker from Morbid Angel, and play exactly the kind of death metal I want to hear.
Warfather have a pretty classic death metal tone, but manage to keep the formula fresh sounding, even if it’s relatively unchanged. There’s a healthy mix of technical prowess, heaviness, and plenty of evil sounding tones, and Steve’s unmistakable guttural growls, making The Grey Eminence a pretty well-rounded record. While there are plenty of time-changes throughout the course of each song, where Warfather really shine is in tracks like “Carnage of the Pious,” which has some pretty straight-forward thrashy riffing, followed by speed-demon tremolo picking. The guitar-work is technical, but manages to avoid going into wankery territory, something a number of the newer bands would do well to learn from. The title track even explores a somewhat death/doom sound similar to Incantation, showing that Warfather aren’t afraid to get a little atmospheric.
The mixing and recording duties were handled by former Morbid Angel axe-slinger/Hate Eternal front-man Erik Rutan. As would be expected, the vocals and guitars are fairly high in the mix, but the drums and bass are also given enough presence as to not be drowned out. The low-end is pretty heavy in some sections, though the bass manages to avoid getting muddy (something that I wish was the case with some of the latest releases by Hate Eternal). All in all, Warfather have crafted a pretty exciting record with The Grey Eminence, and which will appeal to most death metal fans, but especially to fans of Morbid Angel and Hate Eternal. Balancing old-school with modern death metal isn’t an easy task but, thankfully, it seems it’s one that Warfather are more than capable of achieving.