Review by Alex on July 18, 2019.
Scheduled to be released through Transcending Obscurity Records on August 9th, 2019, Trench Warfare’s Hatred Prayer garnered my interest through the teaser video released in support of the record. I liked what I heard and just had to get my hands on it somehow. A month or so following the promotional video for Hatred Prayer, an interview with two of Trench Warfare’s members was posted via DJ Jet on her channel, in which Jay H Gorania (vocals) and Tony Goyang Jr. (guitars,bass) were featured. They discussed the reason for the band, the themes covered on Hatred Prayer and how the band was formed among other things. Eventually, I would acquire a copy of the album that grew on me as I continued to listen. At first inception, I was not pleased with what I heard mainly because of having listened to so many other records during that same day; therefore, to avoid a compromised final impression, I dedicated a session, to which I would give Hatred Prayer my undivided attention. This helped in the understanding of their musical co-ordination and overall final impression on the band’s debut full-length.
During the time spent listening to Hatred Prayer I quickly discovered that they are a much better band when they play at blistering speeds. Opening with ‘Decimate Legions’, I was glued to the album; the intensity and that blazing buzz I often seek when listening to militant black/death metal was present and bled through to ‘Spare No Wrath’, 'Axioms' and ‘Barbarous Temperament’. Those tracks embodied the spirit of war metal; firing a frenzy of riffs, Gatling machine gun drumming of Lee Fisher and excellent death metal vocals; Hatred Prayer had quickly earned themselves a spot in my top war-metal albums of 2019 thus far. Most tracks managed to sound traditionally war-metal while appending well-structured guitar riffs and tempo shifts that resembled that of typical 90s styled death metal. Thus far 25% of Hatred Prayer proved to be appealing to my criteria; however, the problems would surface with the introduction of ‘Astral Projection’ which saw Trench Warfare divert from the blasting torment to a death/doom method. Immediately the drop-in testosterone took effect; it’s understandable that they tried to incorporate variation in their approach, but this much was not necessary, as the interchanging guitar riffs and overall structure of preceding songs had already achieved that plausibly. ‘Astral Projection’ did not need to be on the record at all, I found its presence pointless; whatever Trench Warfare were aiming for never came to fruition, rather it sounded like an unguided, sloppy mess of randomized instrumentation.
Having diluted the momentum created before-hand with the installation of ‘Astral Projection’; ‘Evil Shall Triumph’ storms the defenses in an attempt to reinforce the militant magic established prior to its unceremonious dispelling; with arguably the best performance in each respective region of Hatred Prayer. A strong gust of guitar riffs, catchy, yet still furious drumming fills and tempestuous vocals would see ‘Evil Shall Triumph’ mount the 1st place podium as the best track to come from Trench Warfare. ‘Behead Muhammad’ would remain synchronized with the momentum re-established but would only be followed by 2 songs that again, tried to fix what had not been broken, with ‘Young Lord’ attempting its hand in thrash metal and ‘New Lord’ repeating the mistake of ‘Astral Projection’, only this time, worse. Providing contrast is not a bad idea if done cohesively, but just throwing in a slow-paced lack-luster effort was never going to garner positive feedback at least from a personal perspective. These repeated blimps and offenses hurt the outlook of Hatred Prayer considerably, cause as of that moment, I wanted to skip to the final track but held off due to being so close to the ending anyways. Glad that was not the case, hence the final 3 songs displayed likable facets, with ‘Sate Thy Lust’ being the best entry on the B-side of Hatred Prayer. Amassing the better properties of Trench Warfare’s abilities, it proved to be worth the patience as it in ways served as a reminder of the strong opening on the A-side of the record. Quite relieving to hear the record conclude on an exclamatory note rather than a questionable one; and by having more positives than un-welcomed traits, the record grew more appealing with repeated listens.
If Trench Warfare does continue to toy with their formula, then it needs to be mindful, opposed to how it had been enforced here. Expectations are still high regarding future material from the band; their mistakes demonstrate the will to develop for betterment and a need for consideration.
Rating: 7.7 out of 10