Friday, 8 August 2014

Lastwar - Darkness in Eden

LASTWAR - Darkness in Eden (THRASHING MADNESS - CD 2014)
Ready for another lesson in the history of Polish thrash and death metal? So, Thrashing Madness is coming helpful again, bringing forth another fine CD! This time they’re putting to the table one of the better Polish thrash metal bands, Lastwar! On this release you’ll find “Darkness in Eden”, which was their third demo, released in 1992, compiled together with “Demo 1994” – which was also the very last recording Lastwar did before breaking up few months later. Finally the entire CD contains two brand new songs, which were recorded in 2010, when Lastwar returned shortly as one man studio project to do these two exclusive tracks. And that surely is a nice surprise, as I didn’t even know that Maciej, one of the original three members of Lastwar, came up with the idea of doing something new with his old band (surprisingly without his old colleagues). Anyway, all together we have 55 minutes of music here, so it is enough to find out about what Lastwar was all about!
And the band was all about harsh, aggressive thrash metal! I have only a small memory of Lastwar from my early metal days, as I used to have their split cassette with Sparagmos for some time, before I traded it for something else, as I thought it is not brutal enough for me hehe. Yes, I was all about death metal then and even such Sparagmos was not good enough for me. What a shame I did that, as nowadays this cassette seems to be quite rare. Anyway, I did not like Lastwar so much back in the early 90’s. Today, when I listen to “Darkness in Eden” demo I am quite positively surprised, as it is very good stuff! There are actually some songs on this demo from the previous split with Sparagmos, but in new versions. Firstly, they have English lyrics and secondly I am almost sure (almost hehe, but hey - it’s been many years since I’ve listened to Lastwar last time!) they sound more aggressive here. This demo is thrash metal, but with quite a dose of death metal thrown within, so surely it is nicely aggressive piece! First and foremost, it reminds me Sepultura! Of course Lastwar was not even half as good as the Brazilians, they just didn’t have their quality, spark and total classic riffs. But other than that, “Darkness in Eden” is still a very good material. The riffs are fast, with some sick solos and more death grunts rather than typical thrash metal scream. Along with Sepultura, bring also such comparisons as Pestilence, Massacra, Protector and you may know what to expect from “Darkness in Eden”. “After the Existence” and “Rat Line” are excellent, also such “Struggle  for Life” and “Extermination”, where Lastwar sounds pretty close to Pestilence’s first classic LP. Even the vocals sound like Martin van Drunen in his early days, which is kind a cool. Yes, definitely this was a very good demo, I am especially surprised by the awesome sound quality of it.
Then we have the “Demo 1994”, which was the last recording of original Lastwar… and well, I have quite mixed feelings towards this demo. Sure, the style is intact, maybe it’s even more thrashing, really a lot of speed and aggression is there. So, it is fine, but… the vocals sound just annoying here. I really liked the vocals on “Darkness in Eden”, but on this 1994 demo Maciej sounds like someone, who had no energy to do the vocals and sang in quite boring, monotonous manner. The thing I like more about this demo is probably the guitar tone, which is maybe more aggressive… and really there are some great riffs there like in “Oblivion of Reincarnation”, which is really awesome, fast song – definitely the best one on the whole demo. On the other hand such “The Brutal Reality” is just weak and boring, especially as again the vocals are not so good here! Maybe this is why I feel like comparing “Demo 1994” to “Darkness in Eden” Lastwar did not create a better material, it was stagnation or maybe even going backwards. But until now this demo was unreleased, so it’s awesome that Thrashing Madness putted it on this CD.
Finally we have two songs from 2010, which entirely were recorded by the original member Michał Wąsewicz. I am not sure if the other two original members knew about it, but it is really cool to hear Lastwar again… And I also don’t know if these are two newly composed tracks or something what Michał exhumed from his old rehearsal cassettes and decided to record after so many years… But surely these two tracks sound fantastic and totally in the old style of Lastwar. Sure, the production is more modern, there’s drum machine (which doesn’t disturb at all, which is good!), but the feeling of the music plus the aggression are all the same. Two very good tracks here, definitely!!!!

Final rate: 73/100

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