By Dr. Abner Mality

Looking like a cross between GWAR and a high rent version of the Lords of the Trident, I wonder if War Kings are Hammerfall dressing up and having fun.  If vocalist The Tribune is not Joacim Cans, then it’s somebody doing the most uncanny imitation of the Hammerfall singer that you can imagine.

As for Warkings, I was ready to really rip into these guys because I am getting real tired of all the “dress up” fantasy metal clogging the racks. But I’ll be darned if “Reborn” is not a bad little record that seems to recapture a lot of the energy of the earliest Hammerfall releases…an energy that Hammerfall itself seems to have forgotten in recent years. This is classic European power metal that also has generous traces of the faster Helloween and Gamma Ray. Supposedly these guys are all legendary warriors whom Odin has gathered to Valhalla to play metal for the Gods or somesuch. Odin must be a hell of a producer because this record has got a great crisp sound to it. Drummer the Spartan in particular kicks the hell out of his kit. The songs are fast, fun and catchy with some pretty memorable vocal  lines. Themes are the usual cliché stuff as titles like “Never Surrender” and “Battle Cry” amply demonstrate, but most of the Euro power metal I’ve heard recently lacks the zip and sheer silly chutzpah of Warkings. And if The Tribune is Mr. Cans, then this is actually one of his best performances…check out “Gladiator” and “Hephaistos” for proof. Even the Butcher from Debauchery adds death metal grunts to “Sparta”.

Goofy and hackneyed as it is, “Reborn” is still pretty fun and blows the hell out of labelmates Grave Digger’s recent snoozefest.