Warrior Within – In Light Act II (2020)

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On the Gold Coast is a surf club with commanding views of the beach and ocean, as you would expect. What you wouldn’t expect is that you can order 30 different kinds of chicken parmy.

More about that later…

Hailing from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Warrior Within are currently made up of Scott Macintyre on vocals, Dan Stixx taking care of percussion and the brothers of Tass Hadoulis on guitars and Toli Hadoulis on bass. Warrior Within have been around in some combination since 1992, developing a reputation for honest thrash metal and live performances that leave nothing on the stage.

(Legal disclaimer: I have seen these folks on stage a few times, so have some allegiance, which may in some way affect my review. There. I said it.)

“In Darkness Act 1” was released in 2018 and was a showcase for Warrior Within’s significantly thrashing sound. This EP continues the journey.

“Constrainer” breaks the bonds with the lyrics, delivered in a menacing and disquieting tone, “I am the supreme ruler of all.” The killer rollicking riffs had my foot tapping immediately. Musically, everything is there – the more you listen, the more you hear. Vocals, bass, percussion and guitar coexist, blending to create a dynamic sound. It was simple in nature, with the key progressions and riffs staying true. This is in no way a criticism, it made the sound even more engaging.

Macintyre’s vocals were powerful, gravelled and somewhat evil, but always accessible. There were lots of tempo changes, but this complexity kept me firmly anchored to the sound. The guitar work was crisp and lightning fast, but the bass and percussion were right alongside it.

“Rat Race” sped off immediately, with a guitar wail and a signature solo opening proceedings. This track and its social commentary of the futility of competing in the rat race was incredibly powerful, given the bananavirus having us realising what we’ve lost and what we thought was important. 

Macintyre really came to the fore in this one and this will be a sublime track live, with lyrics like, “Rat… Race… Rat… Fucking… Race!” and “What the FUCK are you doing?!” The guitar work in this one had me open mouthed, but yet again, there was the bass and percussion, romping alongside.

It was encapsulating as a track. The chorus had me well and truly along for the ride.

“The Felling of the Oak” piqued my interest immediately with its title. This was heightened as it opened in a melodic and slightly dischordant manner. The tempo then shifted back to the more familiar sound, with another great melodic progression. The guitar work on this one was hectic, like it was played by mutant tyrannosaurus rexs that inexplicably had longer arms and opposable thumbs. Macintyre’s evil laughter haunted me a little… but that was to be expected.

There was also a significant tempo change, with pulsating percussion more obvious, before it shifted again with neck snapping and attention grabbing effect. Then, a sublime solo and bass line blasted in.

Now, you’re just showing off…

This one was operatic in nature, with Warrior Within’s penchant for social commentary again simmering just below the surface.

“Awakening” began calmly, with restrained guitar and percussion, accompanied by the sound of waves and seagulls. Now I want some hot chips… to go with my chicken parmy…

I was lulled by these soothing sounds, before the sound launched forward, wakening me from my somewhat meditative state. Macintyre reminded me of a demonic ringmaster in this one, overseeing a carnival of musical capers. This track was richly atmospheric, with all of the elements having some time in the sun. The guitars then slowed down, using heavier doses of reverb, before the track eased back down into a more gentle sound that fell and faded away. The ocean and the gulls then wished me adieu.

But, enough from me for a bit. I elbowed into Scott Macintyre’s day and to his credit, he was back to me immediately:

“We’re spewing we had to cancel our East Coast tour. But in the same token grateful we got to play Australia’s first Wacken Battle and was supposed to play/ are on the Melbourne bill for “Metal United Down Under” and “Bangers and Thrash” in Sydney.. but with all this happening who knows when they will go ahead.. lol

We are just stoked that people like our different take on metal that we think, is authentic, and not really fitting to a set genre. And can’t wait for what’s next! 👊🤘🤙🕉️”

Warrior Within are indeed a different beast when it comes to metal and the word “authentic” is perfect.

Seeing them live, I was amazed at the atmosphere that they created. I wondered how they would generate that sound as a recording. However, they don’t try to recreate that live sound, instead providing an authentic showcase of their considerable talents.

But, back to the chicken parmy.

Like the parmy, this offering is what you what you expect, which is why you order it. The core, key elements are there, with enough innovation to appease any appetite. Like the parmy, things like chicken, cheese, bacon and tomato sauce blend to create synergy – the elements being greater than the sum of their parts – like the vocals, guitar, bass and percussion on this EP. They’re always there. If you concentrate, they come into sharper focus, without murdering each other to be at the forefront.

Like the parmy from the surf club, the EP is filling without being so enormous that you’re not hungry for more. Or, want to vomit because there was TOO much.

If you don’t like a tasty spread of wholesome ingredients that leave you hungry for more, order the quinoa salad with macrobiotic tree trimmings.

Me? I’ll have another serve of Warrior Within, please.

9/10

Greg Noble.

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