It's been many moons since I listened to a Thrash/Crossover album that really blew me out! Dreamlord's second full length "Disciples of War" did! Dreamlord is an old Greek band formed in 1995. However, it was not until 2007 they released their first self-titled album. "Disciples of War" was released in the last days of December 2019 some 12 years later.
"Disciples of War" is not a thrash revival album. It actually took me many years back to the 80's and 90's thrash invasion. The whole album has old school songwriting with straight forward riffs that take you from hand and throw you right into the pit. It has the type of crunchy riffs which sound so damn attacking! Dreamlord's sense of melody is well expressed on the guitar themes, the vocal lines or the bass fills. They don't hesitate to use lead guitars more than once in their songs (for example listen to "Out for Blood").
The punishing riffs combined with aggressive vocal lines reveal the (old) Anthrax, Sacred Reich (Hell Yes!), Overkill, Testament and Annihilator influences the band has.
"The 11th Hour" riff with its unmatched heaviness pays tribute to the first days of Metallica and the darker Slayer songs like "Seasons in the Abyss". The riffing is amazing here. It surprises me the Greeks found a way to let us know thrash is still alive and kicking.
The bass sound is thick and fat with the necessary playful thrash mood ("Humanity Enslaved") or heavy as hell (check out the opening theme of the Slayer-ish "Aggressive Denial"). The drums keep a basic performance with nice dynamics throughout.
The production is clear. Not polished, but clear. Every instrument is placed right on the sound map and given justice. The sound is far from plastic modern thrash productions and keeps a live character thrash needs.
"Infrantricide" brought back high school memories where everything in extreme metal was fresh. Nice melodies and great switches between guitar and bass thunderous themes. The eastern melody underlines the band's Greek origin and delivers an obscure feeling to the song.
Dreamlord added an instrumental song in the album with the title "Act of God". This song influences date back to songs like "Orion" or "To Live is to Die" of Metallica, without of course reaching their standards, but doing a very nice and decent job in the album! I dare say we need such songs today. I am super glad Dreamlord dare to add a thrash instrumental.
Metallica harmonies are also present in the last song of the album "Uncompromised". The lead is cataclysmic and the riffage is endless. I am glad to listen to such good songs with passion and respect to the thrash glory days.
Bottom line: "Disciples of War" is a fantastic thrash album. It is nostalgic, but with a good, positive sense of the word. For me this was one of a good thrash records for 2019.