Lich King

Toxik Zombie Lich King - Toxic Zombie Onslaught (Stormspell Records) 2008 

1. "Cheesy Metal Intro" (1:29)
2. "Attack of the Wrath of the War of the Death of the Strike of the Sword of the Blood of the Beast" (3:52)
3. "Office Politics" (5:26)
4. "Thrash Resurgence" (3:23)
5. "Black Metal Sucks" (2:42)
6. "I Destroy" [instrumental] (3:23)
7. "Predator " (5:46)
8. "Cold Steel Machine" (4:56)
9. "Toxic Zombie Onslaught" (4:52)
10. "Lich King II" (5:15)

Album number two for Lich King. If the album title, song titles and cover art doesn't give a hint at what to expect, Lich King are yet another band playing retro-thrash metal. One big difference between this band and many others in the young thrash pack, is that Lich King take the over-the-top clichés to a whole new level, one that is both humorous and fun at the same time. Obviously this band doesn't take itself too seriously. The album starts off with "Cheesy Metal Intro", which is exactly as it is titled, before going into a hilariously titled thrasher called “Attack Of The Wrath Of The War Of The Death Of The Strike Of The Sword Of The Blood Of The Beast”. This song basically sets the standard for the rest of the album both lyrically and musically. All nine tracks are straight-forward Bay Area thrash, with a heavy nod towards "Bonded by Blood"-era Exodus. "Black Metal Sucks" is humor filled speed metal romp. Lich King amusingly spits out everything that they hate about the stereotyped, corpse-paint wearing genre. Lines like, "Over there in Norway, the churches all burn down. Let's go dress in goth clothes and get painted like a clown" and "Running out of rhymes, so wading pool. Thrash is the rule!" prove that the lyrics are more tongue-in-cheek than anything to be taken seriously. Of course all the comical lyrics in the world won't save an album that is boring. With "Toxik Zombie Onslaught" there's speed, there's aggression, there's wicked guitar solos, and there’s thrash, thrash, and more thrash. On the negative side, the drums sound like they are programmed. Personally, I don't find this too distracting, although I am no drummer.

Lich King's sound is not the most original and they obviously wear their influences on their sleeves. However, creating some new genre of metal isn't really the point. Lich King are all about that classic thrash sound, and they are good at what they do. Those looking for the next trend in heavy music need look elsewhere. However, those that are looking for yet another thrasher to add to their arsenal, Lich King deliver the goods.

World Gone Dead Lich King - World Gone Dead (Stormspell Records) 2010

1. Intro (2:22)
2. Act of War (4:53)
3. ED-209 (3:56)
4. A Storm of Swords (6:44)
5. Waste (4:11)
6. Terror Consumes (3:46)
7. Grindwheel (6:25)
8. Behaver (4:37)
9. Aggressive Perfector (2:13)
10. Lich King III (World Gone Dead) (5:59)

Lich King's "World Gone Dead" is a different animal from the band's first two albums. The biggest change is that past albums have all been written and performed by Tom Martin, wheras now Lich King is a complete five-piece band with Martin taking the role of the band's vocalist and frontman. The second big change is that the tongue-in-cheek humor that was a huge part of Lich King's sound and image has been replaced by a more serious retro-thrash vibe. Gone are the funny song titles, hilarious lyrics and the music that was a parody of the modern retro-thrash movement. Instead, Lich King have joined the herd and are playing serious retro thrash metal. The band still has the humor incrusted lyrics, but it's much more low key than in the past. This time it's about the music, more so than the humor. The one exception to this rule might be "ED-209", though even this song rages hard. Musically the band stick to the fast and furious, Slayer inspired thrash metal. However, Lich King are not just about speed, there are some slower tempos and even some hints of groove here and there. All the best thrash bands past and present have always had that balance of tempos and solid riffs.

"Grindwheel" offers a bit of variety from the thrash-for-thrash sake ethic of many retro-thrashers. It is a slow, nearly doomy Celtic Frost influenced number with a killer, extended, Kerry King inspired guitar solo in the middle. The band pull out a cover of Slayer's "Aggressive Perfector" which doesn't stray very far from the original song. However, the song that really tops this album is the "Acts of War", including the two minute long "Intro". This is simply one of the band's best songs, from the ferocious riffs to the manic pace. It's simply one of those thrashers that makes you want to get up and jump around the room, or stomp the peddle to the metal if you happen to be listening in your car. It just has that infectious hook that draws you in. The CD ends with part III of the epic "Lich King" saga.

The one other thing worth noting is that the production has improved over the last album as well. Overall, three albums in and Lich King are still sounding fresh and full of ideas.

Born of the Bomb Lich King - Born Of The Bomb (independent) 2012

1.   All Hail (2:08)
2.   We Came to Conquer (5:43)
3.   Wage Slave (3:51)
4.   In the End, Devastation (4:36)
5.   Fan Massacre (4:36)
6.   Agnosticism (8:41)
7.   Combat Mosh (4:39)
8.   Axe Cop (4:56)
9.   Agents of Steel (Agent Steel cover) (3:03)
10. Lich King IV (Born of the Bomb) (7:51)

"Born of the Bomb" is album number four for Massachusetts revival thrashers Lich King. Once again the band is ready to conquer the world and destroy all who oppose. Lich King is very much a band in the mold of the thrash masters from the 80’s and early 90’s with definite nods to Slayer, Exodus and Overkill. I can't help but hear some Nuclear Assault as well, especially in some Tom Martin’s vocals. It's all about the thrash metal; fast downbeats, speedy licks and down-picked riffs. Lich King delivers on all accounts. In fact, the band has actually matured musically and delivered an album that is overall better than anything they had recorded up to this point. The production is improved, the riffs kill and the lyrics, well, those are what they are. Lich King continue to write lyrics with tongue planted firmly in cheek, yet reek of pure, over-the-top pretentiousness. "Maybe Manowar kills but none of that shit matters, Lich King rules!"  They also name drop some other new wave of thrash metal band in a humorous way on "We Came To Conquer". For whatever reason, "Agnosticism" is the only song that seems to deviate from the norm lyrically, being what seems like the band genuinely preaching their beliefs regarding "existence and what's after the end."

"Born of the Bomb" opens with a few moments of friendly mob chants followed by an excellent grooving Overkill-ish intro that leads into track two, "We Came To Conquer". This cut lays down the foundation for the rest of the album, for the most part. The band thrashes it's way through eight original songs and a killer cover of Agent Steel's eponymous speed metal classic. Martin gives a stellar vocal performance on this track. Only "Agnosticism" deviates from the fast tempos of the rest of the songs; being a more mid-paced number. All in all, "Born of the Bomb" is a thrash metal album written by guys who are fans of thrash metal. They wear their influences proudly and don't really care what the detractors think or say. In fact, the band even manages to secure the talents of Patrick Lind and Jay Visser of Morbid Saint as guest on the album's closing track, "Lich King IV (Born of the Bomb)."

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