At War's primitive approach to thrash on Infidel opens this surprise comeback with the menacing Assassins that simply breathes evil in the frightening tradition of early Slayer and Sodom. Being a war-themed perilously right wing threesome, whose origins date back to the 1980's, At War are resurrected this year for a very special one-on-one with Al Qaeda almost ten years since 9/11. A quick glance at the cover speaks volumes of the band's intent: they're riding the wave of this decade's phobia towards Islamic fundamentalism, presenting their music as a weapon against the AK-47 armed ninja-terrorist-demon-legion. It's camp of GI Joe proportions, but hey, it works.
Succeeding tracks Semper Fi and Make Your Move reinforce the band's love for anything that reeks of warfare and combat. This actually makes the album very appealing to the ears of metalheads with a similar bent. If you happen to be a gun nut who keeps abreast of world affairs and global conflict in general, At War can very well be your favorite thrash act this year. Even the U.K.'s air force gets its share of the spotlight with the pulsating R.A.F where singer-bassist Paul Arnold belts The RAF, the RAF/Pride of the Queen/They're Europe's best. Then the band inject even more vitriol and brutality into the mix for the self named anthem At War that's followed by a chilling commentary on the dangers of radical Islam in Want You Dead. Perhaps most interesting here is their tribute to the American soldier titled Deceit. It may be heartfelt, but for a non-American listener it reeks of Sylvester Stallone's brand of Rambo patriotism.
With its ugly bursts of soloing and no-frills song writing, At War's Infidel is like a hardened Vietnam vets living off his war nightmares. Infidel is an ugly album that's sunk in the mud sounding like its closest comparisons (Slayer, early Metallica, Sodom, and Destruction), which gives it that oft attempted retro varnish. On tracks like the crime-themed Rapechase and Vengeful Eyes the band are firing from the hip with bursts of antisocial lyricism and bare bones musicianship that basically round the wheel. This is a strong comeback from a bunch of guys who've been dormant for 20 years. Unfortunately, it won't make everybody's day.
With its ugly bursts of soloing and no-frills song writing, At War's Infidel is like a hardened Vietnam vets living off his war nightmares. Infidel is an ugly album that's sunk in the mud sounding like its closest comparisons (Slayer, early Metallica, Sodom, and Destruction), which gives it that oft attempted retro varnish.