Presenting a collaboration album between Mind Wars and Svlphrvs (pronounced ‘sulfurous’). The result, a crossover of thrash, punk, hardcore, art core, crust, metal etc. Inspirations for the latter band and particularly, their name, came about as a result of emotions generated from the general overwhelm of today’s society.
Mind Wars launched in autumn 2013, by Mike Alvord (Holy Terror) and Roby Vitari (Jester Beast), with the intention of rebirthing the traditional metal sound of the 80s. 1500 copies were sold of their debut release, ‘Enemy Within’, toured around Southern California in 2014. This, the follow-up, ‘Sworn To Secrecy’, was released in April 2016. STS is a collaboration between MW and Svlphrvs and was mixed and mastered by legendary metal producer Bill Metoyer. Live shows were since played in L.A., San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Sworn To Secrecy – Unnerving and simultaneously exciting spoken word political intro, with a classic thrash guitar sound. Hetfieldesque vocals immediately meld with the riffs and drums, as they come in, with perfect timing. A darker, eerier Metallica/Exodus combo.
Cradle To Grave – Ah now I’m at home). Opening with a very nice, smooth riff straight from Slayer heaven and continuing down that same road throughout. Just exceedingly fine melodic metal territory. Brilliant fade out).
Lies – Oh yeah, very cool, laid-back essence to this. Alternating pace from rapid to slower and back again, plenty of fun riffage and just a relaxed vibe to drift away with. Catchy chorus and slightly Poisonesque vocal shiver at the outro. Good feel.
Twisted – Quickened rage, with a mediocre pace/tempo and more Slayeresque riffs thrown in. Just short enough to pass you by, but not enough oomph to make it memorable. Missing that vital spark.
Helpless – More like it! Changing the whole feel, tone and volume, to something more along the ‘Master Of Puppets’ line, combined with ‘The More I See’ and a sprinkling of ‘Kill Em All’. Closest descriptions possible. In a nutshell, this metals things right up and will definitely stick in your memory. You’ll find yourself joining in towards the end. Catchy card well covered here.
Scalp Beauty – Fabulous intro scream! More indicative of fear than fun and fittingly noticeable, as such. Some very promisingly metallic riffs and sinister vocals. One of those familiar bass lines that’ll have you searching your mental filter of similar sounding tracks and bands.
Rest Now – That’s one powerful intro riff and bass line and equally heavy drum beats. Something searing about this track, like it’s being singed into your brain. A firebrand of a song.
No Voice – Oh, a racetrack type song). I’m always comfortable with those, as is known. Start your car engine, switch this on and keep it on, on endless repeat, while you drive round a racetrack in the dead of night. No voice? Lots of voice, imo.
Prophecy – An eastern quality to this intro. Later seguing into a typically solid, hard and heavy sound, encapsulating the spirit of metal throughout. Again, its catchiness increases towards the close, thrumming with life and becoming more affirming as it ends.
Release Me – Wow! Incredibly powerful drum intro, blasting into life, with a Tallicaesque stop-start beat that burns into your memory for ever and racing on in much the same collective instrumental vein, as heard throughout the tracks of Tallica, Testament and thrash bands, generally. Immediate, noticeable and hard-hitting.
Transporting – Another sinister edge to this. A complete change of tack here, to something more redolent of a film soundtrack; so vivid is the imagery it conjures. Think police chases and high-speed pursuit cars (yes, I frequently associate metal with cars) and you’re there. Now turn the lights out, riff along on air guitar and you’ll capture the magic. (That is, if you filter out the presidential voice-over at the end). Standout track.
The New Family (code R.E.D.) – Okay, honestly not sure what to make of this one. A bit of a mish-mash of styles and techniques, all over too soon to be able to really get to grips with it. Listen and form your own opinions.
I Wanna Be Rewarded For Who I Am – Don’t we all? A slower beat, initially, with more emphasis on rhythm, lots of raging vocals, continuously changing pace, in a very punky fashion. Again, over so quick that I feel mostly rage.
Disbelief – Imagine ‘Anarchy In The UK’ and you’re there. Same anger. Same passion. Same rawness. Even shorter.
Micro Aggressor – Similar to track 14, with some gentler sections thrown in. Gone in a flash.
Paedophile Immolation – Eerieness in title, chorus content and general feel. Maybe it’s just the creepiness that word instils in me, but this is just creepy.
Runoff – More catchiness to this and a more even pace. Plenty of anger, still, but somehow, more comfortable to hear.
Amaryan – Like something out of an old art/space/psychedelic rock video. Plain weird and that Dalek like voice reminds me of someone whose name escapes me. If you figure it out, remind me.
Life’s Shit Lotto – A race to replenish the earth’s stocks of oxygen, before it runs out. That’s what’s in my head.
Word Crime – A bit more political speech, followed by more angry shouting, speed riffing and drumming. Over.
Bonnacon – Please don’t ask me what a bonnacon is. I don’t know. Rage, rage and more rage. I can’t find anything else to say.
Unpaid – Okay, there’s an obvious monetary theme to this, evidently revolving around the lack of it. Well we’ve all been there. Some drum banging, more of the parade type and an unexplained child’s voice, talking about candy.
I Don’t Own Anything – Tantrum town. Quite rhythmic, with a nice riff and decent heavy drum beat at the end. Otherwise, just more of the same.
Epic March – Shout, shout, shout. Whilst this is a bit more Army like shouting in places and does have some nice riffs here and there, it’s just starting to sound a bit samey. Even with the oddly placed fairground type music at the end, making it feel a bit Disney like. I don’t get it.
Endtro: All Of Them Witches – Aha! Finally, some decent, cool, bluesy, soulful music to listen to! Good finishing stroke, but it won’t save the rest. What’s with the farmyard animals and ominous long silence, just before the end? Also, what’s with the suicidal ideation, right at the end? As I said before, I don’t get it. I still don’t.
Overall – … An obvious clash right down the middle between thrash/speed metal and punk/hardcore, essentially. The first grabbed me. The second didn’t. Promising intro, but imho, the latter lets itself down, by maintaining such short track lengths, that it’s over before you’ve had chance to get into it, understand it or gain much from it and with stark repetition. Plenty of energy, but at the expense of much else. More music and less aggression and obscurity would do it greater justice.
I’m going to split the star rating, in this case, to reflect each bands’ contributions.
Mind Wars – Tracks 1-11 – 7/10 *******
Svlphrvs – Tracks 12-25 – 4/10 ****
For fans of Metallica, Testament, Exodus, Slayer, Sex Pistols, punk and hardcore/grindcore.