Warbringer & Exmortus Annihilate The Sunset Strip

Warbringer & Exmortus
April 30, 2015
Whisky a Go-Go- Los Angeles, CA

     For the last couple of years, Exmortus has been crushing the LA music scene. They hail from Whittier, California and just this past December, The OC Weekly Blog named them #4 on the 10 best local underground metal bands. February of 2014, they released their second album via Prosthetic Records titled Slave to the Sword which is a beast of an album. They teamed up with Warbringer and other local LA metal bands at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go for a night of in-your-face metal!
    Exmortus is no stranger to the LA crowd at this point. For this show, they took the opportunity to introduce their new bassist Michael Cosio formerly of local LA metal band, Abysmal Dawn. Right as they were preparing to hit the stage, chants could already be heard as fans shouted, “Exmortus! Exmortus! Exmortus!” exmsc-5They came on stage and opened with the first track from the Slave to the Sword album, Rising. The crowd wasted no time in starting a mosh pit and things got off to a great start for a band like this. It was nice to see that tracks from Slave to the Sword dominated their setlist as all but one song was played from that album. The second song to shred through the crowd’s ears was the title track, Slave to the Sword. This track itself is a huge step forward for Exmortus’ sound. From start to finish, it’s an onslaught of guitar shredding and powerful melodies that even first time listeners will start to head bang and eventually, lose self-control. This song also gives guitarist/vocalist Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez and guitarist David Rivera a chance to show off how much their guitar-playing has evolved and their twin lead-guitar technique. The next two songs were Immortality Made Flesh and Foe Hammer and both songs tore through the ear drums of everyone in the venue. After that, it is known by Exmortus’ Facebook followers that the band is currently working on new material. To everyone’s surprise, they played a new track titled Hymn of Hate. The crowd seemed to love it and gave the band the horns up in approval. If this is what one song sounds like, there’s no doubt the rest of the album will be phenomenal. For the second-to-last track, Exmortus played perhaps their most interesting song, Moonlight Sonata (Act III). That’s right, Beethoven goes metal as Exmortus turns a classical piece into a full on fast-paced face-melter that should be listened to by everyone. Drummer and cousin to Gonzalez, Mario Moreno seemed to at the top of his game as he relentlessly pounded on his drums with no mercy to where you could feel the vibrations of every drum hit pass through your body. Newcomer Michael Cosio is an excellent new bassist as you could clearly hear his bass-playing and funky grooves which at times you could almost dance to only to be crushed or squished by the surrounding mosh pit and quickly return to the reality of being at a metal show. To finish off their set, Exmortus plays their metal anthem, Metal Is King. This song lets Gonzalez utilize both of his vocal styles switching from death metal growls to traditional high-pitch heavy metal vocals. It’s always a cool sight to see Gonzalez and Rivera play the guitar solo by leaning over each other’s backs almost liking like a human pretzel and playing their parts on the other’s guitar. Exmortus is still a pretty new band, but they’ve already reached great heights and will only go higher and higher with time. If you’ve never heard of them, keep an eye out for whenever they tour and see if they come to your area and don’t think twice about seeing them. You might just discover your next favorite band. Metal Is King, all hail the king!warsc-19
Warbringer has been in the metal scene for 10 years. Since then, they’ve released four albums of adrenalizing thrash metal. In May 2014, two members left the band and the band’s future was being questioned. Not too long later, the band announced they would keep going and look for new members. They have now recruited new bassist Alex Malmquist and original and longtime guitarist, Adam Carroll. Now that the band was back up in motion, they were ready to set out with the new lineup and continue to pummel fans all over the world with their music. This show was Warbringer’s first LA show in almost two years and fans were restless as they waited. Warbringer came on-stage to an already packed venue and opened their set with Severed Reality. Without hesitation and still plenty of energy left from all the opening bands, the crowd once again blew up into a vicious mosh pit and people were shoved and crushed into one another. Telling from the looks on their faces, they were enjoying themselves. Their setlist had a nice blend of material from all four of their albums.
The first half of the set was mainly dominated from the last two albums IV: Empires Collapse and Worlds Torn Asunder. They even played Forgotten Dead which has never been played live before. Frontman John Kevill is an entertainment to see live. Whether he’s singing or not, he runs and stomps around on stage like a maniac. You can clearly tell he’s excited to be back in LA after so long. He also did plenty of arm gestures like chopping, slitting his throat, and raising them up above in a crazy man way. All that while having this maniacal look to his face yet being comedic about it and still maintaining his metal spirit. The band continued to play hits and did not slow down whatsoever so the crowd could continuously go absolutely crazy all night. Songs like: Hunter-Seeker, Demonic Ecstasy, and Towers of the Serpent were all welcomed by the fans. The show seemed to come to come to an end, but fans were begging and chanting Warbringer’s name to come back and play some more. The band listened because they came back out for a blistering three-song encore starting with the old school track, Total War. By this time, fans knew the show was coming to an end and disregarded the Whisky A go Go’s strict no stage-diving rule and multiple fans made their way to the stage and threw themselves onto the crowd below. The second encore was the fan-favorite, Living In A Whirlwind. John Kevill made it obvious he wanted the crowd to get extra crazy by having his crazy look and moving his finger in a circular motion signaling he wants a fast mosh pit. The crowd obliged and gave him what would be the fastest and largest mosh pit of the night. Warbringer’s 60-minute set came to an end with Combat Shock and after everything they’ve been through; the crowd was still at it with moshing and stage divers. The band said their goodbyes and had all had smiling faces knowing they did a job well done and had the crowd’s approval of the band member’s amazing job. Warbringer is another band that should be seen for a wild night of metal and with them still being somewhat new, they will continue to make more onslaught music.
Review by: Misael Ruiz