WARTORN
"Iconic Nightmare"

(Southern Lord)

01. Iconic Nightmare
02. Unfinished Blueprint
03. Permanent Blackout
04. No Sanctuary No Salvation
05. Six Feet Under
06. Knee Deep In Blood
07. All Flags Still Burn
08. Betrayal
09. Burial Ground

RATING: 7/10

Looking to redefine the fabled Wisconsin death trip, the cheese state's tax-paying residents WARTORN have partnered with crust-core super-magnet Southern Lord for the release of their debut onslaught, "Iconic Nightmare".

Yes, just like every other band of their ilk on planet earth, it would seem, but in WARTORN's defense, they weren't born yesterday.

Nope, seems the musicians involved have been out and about for the better part of a decade already, not only issuing several releases through smaller labels like Profane Existence and Crimes Against Humanity, but sharing time with parallel bands such as DRESDEN, REMISSION and WORDS THAT BURN.

All this will presumably force folks to think twice before labeling WARTORN as bandwagon-jumpers and, wouldn't you know: just as you're taking note of the copious TRAGEDY qualities evident in the opening title track, WARTORN start throwing in some unexpected surprises to help set themselves apart from the pack - namely Cookie Monster growls (a common feature of many of these tracks, actually), spoken rants and, uhhhh, police sirens!

Later on, "Unfinished Blueprint" and "Knee Deep in Blood" ejaculate unexpectedly sizzling guitar solos, "Six Feet Under" delivers the requisite, ominous doom intro before unleashing all kinds of hell, "No Sanctuary, No Salvation" borders on rot 'n' roll from across the pond, and "Betrayal" takes a deceptively weepy instrumental detour that ultimately helps to distinguish and set up the surrounding mayhem that much more effectively.

On all of the above, WARTORN allows a notably dirty, distorted, plain-old-HEAVY guitar tone speak for them, and one would do well not to underestimate their convincing bile and fury, which ultimately carries the day even when tracks like "Permanent Blackout" and "All Flags Still Burn" end up sticking a little closer to predictable D-beat values.

All this helps make "Iconic Nightmare" a better-than-average (if not exactly life-altering) crust-core LP that should win a few plaudits and numerous believers before 2013 is through.

Heck, and at 25 minutes in length - TOTAL - it can hardly be considered a drain on one's precious time.

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