Warmachine - The Beginning of the End

Before I bought this CD I had never heard of the band or the label. Being a fan of well produced CD's I was a bit worried about the production quality because of the previous mentioned factors. However, my production worries were blown away in about half a second when the initial guitar line opens. It is literally crushing and the bass line is also worthy of mention which shouldn't be surprising since the first two tracks ("Betrayed" and "Empty") as well as "Taunted Souls" is played by ex-Megadeth bassist and co-producer David Ellefson. Lead singer Joe di Taranto is an amazing singer with a breathtaking range of emotion and confidence. His vocal style I would compare to that of Sonata Arctica and Jacob's Dream and to a lesser extent, Hammerfall. Track 4 "Safe Haven" opens with some dark sounding guitars and a sweet double bass kick as opposed to the chorus which has a slightly more poppy sound to it. Di Taranto sings in a slightly higher voice than in the previous 3 songs, but in my opinion only adds diversity instead of grating on the nerves. I really enjoy the lyrics in the chorus and they are as follows: "You see what lies behind my eyes./Then steal away what's solely mine./Breaking the chains I have to find./The sanctum that lives within my mind." "Eternally" opens with a short acoustic guitar solo before the metal hits full throttle. "Forgotten Demise" is another great song and fans of new Jacob's Dream will dig this song as will fans of Megadeth, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Sonata Arctica. The classic metal guitar work on this song (and throughout the CD) is just jaw dropping and even the most jaded guitar critic should be impressed. Littered with intense guitar lines and solos "Eye for an Eye" is yet another noteworthy track and has a bass line that just plain devastates everything unfortunate enough to be in its path. Nearly every track is a guitar lovers dream and mere words are insufficient which is why you need to buy it.

Despite all my praise there are still a few weak spots on the album for example, "Taunted Souls". The band appears to be trying to cross over into thrash metal territory and the result is cringe-worthy. Di Taranto's voice, despite his great range, just struggles with this type of style. The only thing that saves this song from being a total right-off is the 40 second or so guitar solo at the 2 minute mark. "Dust to Dust" is the other weak spot on the album which is sad since its a really strong track lyrically. While the chorus is adequately performed, the verses just sound rushed and forced, sounding quite generic and repetitive.  And don't even get me started on what passes for drumming!

I am unsure of what or any religious beliefs this band has but most of the tracks deal with depression and being able to rise above it. "Betrayed" deals with lying and how it can control you and eventually destroy your friendships. While the band never mentions God or Jesus by name they do seem to show a belief in a higher power in their lyrics and in any case I found this disc quite encouraging to listen to.

It is interesting to note that this CD was recorded back in 2004 and it took 2 long years before this disc was released. Also, both the bassist and drummer left and the band is now a four piece instead of a three piece. So hopefully this well deserving band from Toronto, Ontario will get signed to a bigger label and we'll get to hear some "new" material soon. In my opinion this isn't a "soon to be classic album!" as a sticker on the front boldly proclaimed, but this is a great debut album that every discerning metal fan should pick up. 

Rating: 82/100 

Review By: Joel Hemmerling 

Label: Nightmare Records

Total Songs: 11 

Total Time: 44:19 

Tracklisting: 1. Betrayed, 2. Empty, 3. Beginning of the End, 4. Safe Haven, 5. Fate, 6. Eternally, 7. Forgotten Demise, 8. Taunted Souls, 9. Eye for an Eye, 10. Dust to Dust, 11. Apocalypse 

Best Songs: Tracks 1, 4, 7, and 9 

Band Lineup: Joe di Taranto - Lead vocals, all guitars Andrea Zanini - bass, Andrew Zenti - Drums 

Band Website: http://www.warmachineonline.com