Sunday, July 20, 2014

War (Pol)

War - Insanity of Faith
Under the Sign of Garazel Productions, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. Undivine Plan
2. Possession
3. Path of the Truth
4. Advocatus Diaboli
5. Witch

2007 brings us a wonderful release and some sad news. While we certainly have a new and excellent album from War, this is also to be their final musical output. After this the band would break-up and their musicians would do other things with their lives. As usual with the Garazel releases this is limited to 1,000 hand-numbered copies and I own #115. A major difference is this time we get a full booklet with all the lyrics and everything. A truly wonderful way to end the art.

It's interesting to see this project come into existence in the early 90's, disappear for years then resurface for a very productive engagement for a few years only to disappear again. Luckily they have left us with some truly excellent music to enjoy, which will, no doubt, stand the test of time. "Insanity of Faith" basically continues where "Holy War" has left off. It his a similar approach with the songs being very long and the riffing meandering between bouts of intensity and more melancholic passages. The album eventually closes out with the immense "Witch" which clocks in at nearly twelve minutes in length. This is really a spectacular closing to a wonderful journey.

If you have liked what War has been producing over the years, then you're unlikely to be disappointed with this release too. Its sad to see there will not be a follow-up for this album. However, given the fact that the projects life has been intermittent maybe someday it will be resurrected for an even more updated approach. I feel like the message for this album is a lot more mature as well and is aptly shown on the inner sleeve behind the CD: "Beware of Men who claim they possessed the truth..."

Dark Fury/White Devils/War - Alliance in Hate
Garazel Productions/Flagellum Haereticorum Records, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

Dark Fury:
1. 'Till Death
2. We are...
3. In Our Hands
4. No Tolerance
5. Nightly Gloom
6. One of Us
White Devils:
7. Podbój
8. Europejski Koszmar
9. Zwycięstwo Lub Śmierć
10. Nowy Ład
11. Przemoc I Siła
12. Prophecy of a Fallen Angel
13. Faust's Vision
14. Old Prey
15. Presence of Evil

Side Dark Fury: here
Side White Devils: ...coming eventually...
Side War:

War has been going through a very productive stage in their career and here they have even more material for us just a year later. Here they split with another immense Polish band Dark Fury and a new project called White Devils. As with the prior releases this album is limited to 1,000 hand-numbered copies and I own #653.

Given how closely written the material is written, this is more of a continuation of the material we found on "Ex Tenebris..." and "Holy War". So if you've been enjoying what War has had to offer so far, then the split material will happily continue this for you. They do experiment with layered vocals a bit more with songs like "Faust's Vision". Unfortunately, as with some of the Behemoth Death Metal albums, the vocal layering just dominates the mix and you really can't hear the music very well anymore. Aside from that "Faust's Vision" is nearly flawless and one of the better songs composed by War, in general. The four tracks definitely keep up with this and parts of "Old Prey" have a more spacey feel at times, which is a really interesting change of pace for the band. But it still really works with their sound, so I wouldn't mind hearing more of that in their future releases.

War - Holy War
Under the Sign of Garazel Productions, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

1. Holy War
2. My Funeral
3. Strength & Honor
4. Dogs of War
5. My Faith

After just one year War return with another full length on the same label. Like the last album it comes in limited quantities. This time it is limited to 999 hand-numbered copies and I own #951. There's a bit more to look at with this album too and here we get a fold-out booklet that features lyrics for more than one song at least. They don't share all the lyrics with us, but they do share some, at least.

"Holy War" seems to be highly inspired by the apparent rise of extremist Islam against the world. A lot of Black Metal bands are taking note of this and many are shifting from hatred of Christianity to fight against Islam as more of a focus. A couple years before "Holy War" was released Lord Belial put out their controversial song "Purify Sweden". Some bands take this new focus as an inspiration to reject all religions as dangerous and worth fighting against. I'm more strictly in this camp. The racist groups seem to take this as a clear race war since Islam is predominantly out of the Middle East... but I feel like that's a somewhat foolish take because damaging religions like Christianity, although spawned in the Middle East, have grown beyond and are all over Europe. However, there's no denying the hatred many feel towards the extremist adherents post 9/11, which has really given Black Metal art a boost in the direction of "see what happens when you have religion".

The concept aside, the music on this album is very excellent. Its definitely along the lines of "Ex Tenebris Nasceris ut Deleas", but given their playing around with track length on this release, its a much more epic experience all around. The epic nature puts it on par with "Ex Tenebris" because War has had to write riffs in a particular way that they are interesting over quite a bit of repetition. Luckily they're good enough writers to have succeeded in this goal. I feel like the vocal arrangements are a lot more dynamic than the prior album as well. He really shifts between a more mid-range growl and at times hits some of the higher range elements we first experienced on "Age of Unbelieve". This is really how a great vocal arrangement works out.

In the end this is another excellent release from this band. I wish War was more of a household name in the Black Metal scene, alas I do not hear them referenced very often despite a strong discography. If you really enjoyed "Ex Tenebris" then "Holy War" is certainly worth hearing as well. "Ex Tenebris" might be a little stronger in the end, but it is not that much stronger than this.

War - Ex Tenebris Nasceris ut Deleas
Under the Sign of Garazel Productions, 2004
Genre: Black Metla

1. Empty World
2. Night Cold
3. The Days of Tyrants
4. Sigillum Diabolicum
5. For the Truth and Ideals
6. The Black Flame

Here we have War's first official release. The debut with an amazing label Under the Sign of Garazel and this is exactly the type of label to get War's name out there into the underground. This album is definitely a new evolution for the War sound and is quite different compare to "Dawn of New Epoch". Like many of the earlier Garazel releases this album is limited to 500 hand-numbered copies and I happen to own #150.

"Ex Tenebris Nasceris ut Deleas" is really a monumental album for War. Its so much more vicious than anything they've ever produced before. Not to mention the whole middle section of "The Days of Tyrants" is so incredibly dark it really transcends a lot of the other material they've ever written. It sounds like War has been keeping up with the likes of Arkona over the years and has included a lot more blasting and intense sections in their writing. They still retain sections that are almost purely majestic as well like in "For the Truth and Ideals", which has some truly awe inspiring sections. War has really given us a truly special release and it is a shame it is limited to so few and I fear this material will be lost over the years. I am glad I was able to get an original copy of this release to share with everyone.

In the end I wasn't expecting this kind of release given what I had heard from "Dawn of New Epoch". I think this new direction is even better for War and seems to fit their name a little better than before. Its intense, vicious, and still epic all at once. I also like that they haven't fallen into the modern methods of having over produced Black Metal, so there's still a very organic feel and approach to their music. This time the writing just feels a lot more mature though and I really look forward to what they will have in the future, especially if they're going to continue in this direction.

War - Dawn of New Epoch
Self-Released, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Revenge
2. Hate Must Go On
3. New Time Will Come
4. The Unknown
5. Last Attack
6. Illusion of Life
7. Dawn of New Epoch
8. Fog
9. Dark Land

After a nearly ten year wait, War returns with their debut full-length. They bring is all new material, but it doesn't seem that much has changed over the years. Naturally, the recording quality is far superior to their demo days, especially that of "Age of Unbelieve". War seem rooted in the simplicity of the early 90's, which is really interesting to listen to in the more modern times, because it feels like this project has simply been well preserved over the years. I do wonder if these are songs written sometime after "Age of Unbelieve", but the band was never able to really bring them to the light of day until now. The original version of this album was never supposed to exist either and only a few CDr's were sent to
friends of the band. This leads me to the edition I own which is the 2007 re-release which also comes with "The War Horde" making this really worth having in the context of the bands history. Unfortunately, in this re-edition one of the songs "Illusion of Life" has been left off and I'm not sure why that is.

Either way, I am glad to have this release in whatever form I could find it. The material presented on here is definitely worth hearing historically and just because its really solid Black Metal. At times the material comes more with a modern element of melancholy that seems to have grown out of the original Burzum style of the early days. War do a great job at including this element into their sound, which gives this release a bit more of a modern flair amidst all the older sounding material. I am happy to see that the bass work still manages to stand out quite a bit from time to time like the early days of "The War Horde". The vocals have settled into a sort of mid-range growl, which gives the album more attack than some of the prior material, but works pretty well for the project.

It's nice to see this project get resurrected. I'm glad to see that their debut and their ability to perform Black Metal is just as strong as ever. A lot of times you wonder how drastically the musicians have changed over the years with all the different kinds of influences that can exist out there. With War, the answer is they haven't changed all that much from the days of 1994. I hope their return to Black Metal is not as brief as their demo days.

War - The Age of Unbelieve
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. Age of Unbelieve
2. ...of Hell
3. War and Hate
4. The Winds are Calling
5. Dark Sacrifice
6. Desecrator
7. Born of Fear

The second demo from War, also released in the highly productive year 1994. As with the last tape, I also do not own a copy of this one, but I do own the re-release of the material on CD from 2011 and limited to 300 copies. Unfortunately the album title has been misprinted and there were other serious problems with this release, which seem to make this rather difficult to find. I'm surprised this just didn't get tagged onto a future full-length because this demo is only about fourteen minutes long. On the other hand... the recording quality is actually very poor compared to The War Horde, so I can see why the band wasn't interested in releasing this material very much.

Even though this recording has been remastered, there's just no way to salvage the poor quality when its recorded in this fashion. Unlike "The War Horde" the raw recording quality kind of takes away from the recording, because it is bathed in a level of static that makes it challenging to follow what is happening. It seems like the writing is certainly on par with "The War Horde", so it is a shame that the recording could not be salvaged in the same way the first demo was. The vocal performance is also strikingly different from the debut release. Here the vocals are presented in a more typical Black Metal fashion with a harsh rasp rather than the more high pitched wail of before.

In the end, this demo is more well written than "The War Horde", but the production really is a massive barrier from letting us see that. It is an unfortunate aspect of this release and I really wish it could have been better preserved over the years. After this the band would take quite an incredible hiatus. Despite being formed in the early days of the Polish scene we won't hear from them again until 2002 when the project seems to get resurrected.

 War - The War Horde
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Witches
2. Age of War
3. Eclipse
4. Deadspeak
5. Fog
6. In the Fire
7. Dreams About a Fear
8. This Dark Land it's Mine

Listed as their first demo, but with eight tracks this is practically a debut full-length. Unfortunately, it only clocks in at around twenty-five minutes, so the songs are quite short on average. It is strange that a band has arisen in the music scene with this name. It's a great name for a Black Metal band, but there is already a very well known band from the 70's with this same name. More unfortunately, I was never able to track down this original demo tape. So, for the purposes of this review I am working with the re-released recordings published in 2007 with "Dawn of a New Epoch".

It's sort of incredible that War isn't a more well known project given how early this band started out. "The War Horde" is also heavily rooted in the ways of the early 90's Black Metal, so fans of bands like Arkona should be looking into this demo. Despite being in the early class of the genre, War write some fairly compelling music. "Eclipse" has some awesome blend of Emperor and Darkthrone styled together. Its the type of old recording where the harshness actually adds to the music rather than takes away, especially with the thunderous bass shining through in sections. The vocals are fairly low in the mix, but that's alright because it appears they follow in the footsteps of Burzum's higher shrieks. With this vocal style low in the mix it never really overwhelms the music, which I see happen all too often with this approach.

This is a very promising debut recording. Perhaps the track lengths are on the short side, but they perform at a particular level that is very well done. This is definitely a band to be watching over the years with a debut that is fairly strong.


  1. if you dont share it, it´s like a pig dancing before getting butched... completely useless

    thanx... anyway

  2. what on earth are you talking about??... this is a webzine. You know, where you read reviews...