I’ve always been partial to a bit of Lich King. Toxic Zombie Onslaught was an enjoyable, low-fi homage to the thrash greats with some hilarious lyrics & the production of a Mayhem live album. You can, therefore, imagine my surprise when I put World Gone Dead on. The vocals no longer drown out everything else, the bass is clear & the guitars sound meatier than Ian Watkins’ last snack.
Opening with an intro followed by the album’s weakest track seems like a strange gambit. Act Of War is more intense than a night in the woods with Raoul Moat but ultimately it lacks the panache & soul of previous albums. It does have an excellent SEGA-core outro though. I just copyrighted that so if Dragonforce attempt to use it, I can sue them until they can’t afford booze & have to suck off tramps for change in the bus station.
Thankfully, it is all uphill from there on. In accordance with recent thrash regulation 58 subsection D, there is an 80s action film tribute in the form of ED-209. A paean to the might of Robocop’s shiny robotic adversary, the King demonstrate exactly how to use a sample as ED’s machine guns turn to blasting drums & shredding solos reminiscent of Slayer before they went shit. A Storm Of Swords has all the groove of early Testament & could set off a circle pit in an mortuary.
The second half of the album is where Lich King’s new-found maturity really shines, straddling a note-perfect (possibly, who gives a fuck?) cover of Slayer’s masterpiece Aggressive Perfector. Grindwheel is a down tempo epic with some excellent guitar harmonies & a hefty doom break that should have bowels emptying for years to come.
Look at rainbows
Mind your manners
Wash your hands
Behaver wins the Best Lyrics Of Any Thrash Song Ever award ending with a scream of “Behave Yourself!” & more Slayer-influenced fretwank. Closing with Lich King III (World Gone Dead), they pull out every trick in the book & proceed to choke you with it in a good way. The gang vocals of “All Hail The Lich King!” are sound advice as a massive breakdown gives way to a series of solos that show exactly how much they’ve improved. If you wrote them off after Necromantic Maelstrom or Toxic Zombie Onslaught, then you are a dumbass but give them another shot, it’s hard to believe it is the same band.
With World Gone Dead, Lich King have successfully made the hardest transition a metal band can make. They made the jump from novelty band kissing goodbye (passionately, on the lips) to the Brian Posehn & Van Cantos of the heavy metal bargain bucket. This album is proof that Lich King can play with the big boys of the new wave of thrash. Just don’t expect them to play nice.