"Watch out for the next release; it just may crush all in its path," was the statement I made to end my review of WOE OF TYRANT's "Behold the Lion", the group's Tribunal Records debut. That next release is "Kingdom of Might" and the label is now Metal Blade. I don't know about crushing all in its path, but the album is in fact an improvement over its predecessor and is the sound of a band that has hit its stride.
"Kingdom of Might" is a blistering modern, melodic death/thrash album with a positive, Christian lyrical theme that may or may not float your boat. Don't make the mistake of letting any disdain you may have for Christian metal lyrics dissuade you from diving headfirst into this swirling maelstrom of metal. The long-player is a rip-snorting death thrasher, no question about it. And the guys from Chillicothe, Ohio are good songwriters. The arrangements are packed with monster riffs and slamming compositional changeups. The numerous fire-breathing solos and intricately played harmonies are a guitar-lover's dream. The engineering/mixing/mastering job of Joey Sturgis brings out every sharp edge and glistening metallic shard too.
The songs are just loaded with whiplash inducing parts. "Soli Deo Gloria" comes sprinting out of the blocks with a superb arrangement that features the fleet-fingered fretwork of Matt Kincaid and John Hehman. It slashes, burns, and comes straight at you with great transitions and triumphantly metal moments. And that's only the second track (after intro "Jesu Juva"). "Break the Fangs of the Wicked" moves into more of a traditional Swedish melo-death/AT THE GATES approach and the riff grooves on "Pearls Before Swine" and the swampy, southern metal instrumental "Sons of Thunder" are sublime. The album's pinnacle is reached during the one-two punch of "Kingdom of Might (The Eclipse)" and "Kingdom of Might (Dawn in the Darkness)". The former features the disc's darkest tones before fading into a serene acoustic section that morphs into its sister track, one that features a shift to thrashing speed metal around the 2:50 mark that wrecks the neck. The same goes with the opening thrash segment of "Like Jasper and Carnelian" — it is one of those "Wow!" moments.
It is those earth-shaking transitions that WOE OF TYRANTS has mastered on "Kingdom of Might". Virtually every one is an attention grabber. There is no substantial letup in momentum either, only a slight bit of drag that sets in during the last few songs. The criticism is largely inconsequential though. "Kingdom of Might" lays most Christian metal albums to waste.