Interview: Guitarists John Laux and Adam Carroll of Warbringer
Check out Guitar World's Warbringer interview below, plus our exclusive premiere of a new Warbringer song "Shattered Like Glass," here, and your chance to win a Jackson DXMG Dinky Guitar -- courtesy of Warbringer, here.
Rock music has always been comprised of two factions: architects and heroes.
The architects lay the foundation and develop a sound that will be emulated by others for years to follow. The heroes, on the other hand, step in and grab all the glory. They do it with style, talent and reverence to those who came before them. Thankfully, thrash metal has its latest hybrid of these two phenomena: Warbringer.
The Los Angeles-based quintet has been a fixture in the rock scene since their inception in 2004. For the next seven years, Warbringer built a steady and consistent following by sticking to their modest but effective formula of innovative music and hard work.
Along the way, the band picked up a record deal with Century Media when an A&R exec signed them in lieu of another group. They even bear the distinction of earning a coveted spot on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart with their 2009 LP, Waking Into Nightmares.
Now, Warbringer is back, rocking harder than ever with Worlds Torn Asunder. Like their previous efforts, Worlds is hard-driving and aggressive, fueled by a stunning triptych of fiery vocals, guitars and drums. But as the band concedes, it has an added layer of creativity that clearly makes it a breakthrough album.
“We wanted a raw, old-school, retro kind of record,” says guitarist John Laux.
Thanks to a productive collaboration with producer Steve Evetts, that’s exactly what they got. Members of Warbringer were thrilled to have a cohesive meeting of the minds with someone who could inject a new flavor into their trademark sound.
Evetts has partnered with acts ranging from the Cure to Sepultura in the past. His effect on Warbringer (and ultimately Worlds Torn Asunder) changed how they viewed their music and themselves.
“Out of all the albums we made, [Evetts] really kicked our asses,” confesses guitarist Adam Carroll. “He made us work way past our potential.”
“I think creatively it’s one of the strongest things we’ve done. I’m really proud of it.” He calls Evetts’ production style, “natural” and “organic and marvels that, “he really understood the music.”
The end result is 10 tracks that are so sonically next-level, members of Warbringer are actually at a loss on how to recreate some of them before a live audience. Still, each song has carefully burrowed its way into the hearts of their creators.
For Laux, “Demonic Ecstasy” is the gold standard; for Carroll, choosing is a bit harder.
“Ah, shoot. Picking a favorite is a little tough for me,” he admits. "‘Shattered Like Glass’ is probably my favorite. It’s just real fast-paced. It does pose a little challenge live, but I think that’s why I like it so much.”
Warbringer will also be launching a tour in support of its new material. Although they are no strangers to the rigors of the road, promoting Worlds Torn Asunder will offer the band its first shot as headliners.
“We’ve opened for so many other bands, but I’m really looking forward to getting out there for this album,” Carroll says. “Exodus was the first band we ever toured with in January 2008 and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
So strong was the camaraderie with Exodus that Warbringer enlisted singer Gary Holt to produce its 2009 release, Waking Into Nightmares. But the influence on Warbringer’s music doesn’t stop there. They list Napalm Death, Iron Maiden, Sacrifice and Demolition Hammer as other predecessors that have left a mark on the band creatively.
Warbringer’s rise to the top has proven a storied one. Buzz surrounding the band came quickly, as a number of thrash-metal acts stimulated new interest in the genre. That, coupled with the advent of social networking sites, and Warbringer’s success was quickly solidified.
However, touring has brought with it a number of headaches: Following personal tensions within the band as well as several public changes in lineup (most recently with the departure of drummer Nic Ritter in January 2011), Warbringer has been forced to regroup on more that one occasion. However, its original members have never accepted defeat amid adversarial conditions. Instead, they’ve managed to rely on friends and trustworthy members of their inner-circle for support and inspiration. This is what led to the addition of Carlos Cruz from Hexen as Warbringer’s current drummer.
“We’ve known Carlos for a long time because he’s part of the local scene,” Laux says.
Knowing Cruz beforehand made his integration into the fold a smooth one; credit this to Warbringer’s embracing of its followers and local music community. In this day and age of hyper-socialization, Carroll asserts that he and his band mates are absolutely open to getting to know their fans better.
“For the most part, we’re all pretty mellow,“ he says. “But, I think for all of us, we’re pretty approachable. We’ll pretty much hang out with anybody.”
So what does the future hold for Warbringer? Well, with any good architect, continuing to build upon a carefully laid foundation is surely a key component. And for these rising guitar heroes, basking in the glare of all they have created is also a given.
But perhaps Carroll sums up the band’s long-term view in the best possible way: “Hopefully we’ll be doing the same thing, just on a broader scale,“ he says.
Worlds Torn Asunder, the new album by Warbringer, will be released September 27 via Century Media. For more about the album, visit Warbringer on Facebook.