Lich King - Official Website

Necromantic Maelstrom

United States Country of Origin: United States

1. Lich King
2. Caveman Aggression
3. Mascot War
4. Reavers
5. Bleeding And Screaming
6. The Werewolf
7. Thrashssacre
8. Kill Your Guts Out
9. Bodies On Bodies (Vio-Lence Cover)
10. A Lesson In Violence (Exodus Cover)

Review by Felix on February 4, 2020.

In many cases, you are no lucky man when playing in an American thrash band in the 21st century. The shadows of the Bay Area role models are simply too long. On the one hand, the exciting aroma of any kind of pioneering days cannot be reproduced, on the other hand, it remains a fact that bands such as Forbidden, Dark Angel or Agent Steel had fabulous songwriters. Are there any "younger" bands that are able to drink from the "Chalice of Blood"? Guys who have witnessed "The Burning of Sodom"? Or talented dudes who have spat into the cocktails of the "Agents of Steeeeel"?

Lich King's debut from 2004 fails to join the hall of fame. American thrash metal has seen much better albums than the first effort of this five-piece. Lich King do not lack energy and the technical skills seem to reach a solid level. The average velocity reflects the formation's will to destroy everything that stands in its way, but velocity alone has never been a quality feature. Where are the riffs that benefit from the energetic surrounding? They are widely missing. The album is filled to the brim with sawing and rasping guitars, but the guys at the six strings fail to offer outstanding details. Sometimes I think this or that section has the potential to grow, but at the end of the album, Lich King commit suicide. They remind us of the invincibility of the classics. Both "Bodies on Bodies" and "A Lesson in Violence" (with a short tribute to "No Love" at the end) kill the band's own material without turning a hair. Moreover, it becomes obvious that it was no good idea that lead vocalist Tom Martin challenges Paul Baloff (R.I.P.). The natural vileness of Baloff is entirely lacking.

Speaking of Tom Martin, this guy has not fully understood the tasks of a thrash metal vocalist. Instead of supporting the sharpness of the guitars with a clear and aggressive style, he sounds like a drunken man in his mid-fifties. Especially the actually acceptable opener, which provides a well-arranged solo part, suffers from his awkward and mostly expressionless bawling and this might be the reason why both the second and the fifth track are instrumentals. However, this dude needs binoculars in order to see in the distance the level of guys like Russ Anderson or John Cyriis. By the way, the old "heroes" did not sing about the "Mascot War", where Sargent D, Flotzilla and Snaggletooth, to name but a few, fight against each other. But Lich King is a humorous unit... and I have to determine that this kind of lyrics matches the quality of the lead vocals very well. Thus, let's have a look at the performance of the instrumental section.

Well, songs like the aforementioned instrumental "Caveman Aggression" are not free from banalities. Lich King's guitar work does not give me thrills in abundance. Some ideas work, some are rather trivial. "Reavers" illustrates the ambivalence of the record. It starts promising with a swift riff and a straight verse, but the band is not able to maintain the momentum. Instead, the guys move to a Slayer-tribute-riff-session and lame sections. Incoherence is the word that comes to my mind whenever I hear the songs of this pretty dull produced work. Moreover, the vocals push aside the guitars. This is anything else but helpful, because exactly some Hanneman-influenced riffs ensure that the album does not fully go in the wrong direction. Either way, whoever gave the scepter to the young Lich King, he or she forgot that the old idols still reign. And now I leave - I feel the urgent need to listen to "Hell Awaits", "Forbidden Evil" or "Bonded by Blood".

Rating: 5.5 out of 10