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Thrash Battle Royale
Who would win in a speed metal throwdown between Pantera/Down’s Philip Anselmo and Warbeast, featuring former Rigor Mortis frontman Bruce Corbitt? Anselmo and Corbitt helmed the second wave of thrash in the late ’80s/early ’90s, blazing the trail for the acceptance of heavy, fast, gory power metal. With the four song EP War of the Gargantuas, they square off with their latest projects.
Anselmo has gone solo, currently backed by members of The Illegals. The EP starts off with his familiar scream and no-holds-barred blast beats on “Conflict,” and slows down (but never calms down) for the refrain. His voice sounds matured, though not aged. Not to be outdone, Warbeast follows with “Birth of a Psycho,” mixing time signatures and tempos with interesting moments that are more like motifs than hooks. Anselmo strikes back with “Family, Friends, and Associates,” a misleadingly benign title for a song about betraying allegiances. It’s overshadowed the power of Warbeast’s “IT,” which brings Gargantuas to a pounding, growling halt.
And the winner is… Warbeast. While both artists show their experience in composition and execution, the Warbeast tracks are slightly more memorable and better structured than Anselmo’s. In either case, if their fans are wondering if Anselo or Corbitt have plans of slowing down, they have their answer. And for aspiring thrash/death metal bands, the whole of Gargantua provides a lesson in how it should be done.