For all those in doubt, heavy metal is alive and well. The torch of thrash is being carried on by the one and only Warbringer. Largely inspired by Bay-Area predecessors Metallica and Slayer, Warbringer does not sacrifice riffs for speed; they embrace both. I caught up with lead guitarist John Laux, and he told me the band prefers to be called a “heavy metal” band, despite their obvious thrash influences. The band exploded onto the scene with their 2009 breakout album, Walking Into Nightmares. The record set a new metal standard for this generation. The band’s latest effort, Worlds Torn Asunder, is out now on Century Media Records. The guys sound as good as they ever have. Laux is an absolute shredder, and one of the best up-and-coming guitarists in rock music. The album is absolutely relentless, and the lead-off track “Living Weapon” is an instant classic (and set to Repeat on my iPod). I caught their show at The Starland Ballroom in North Jersey, and it was incredible. The band not only displayed intensity, but technical excellence as well. Bassist Andy Laux (John’s brother) and drummer Carlos Cruz have a rhythm section that makes you feel like your heart is going to explode, and newcomer rhythm guitarist Andrew Bennett fits in perfectly with his new bandmates. Vocalist John Kevill unleashed hell on the crowd, with echoes of Rob Halford (Judas Priest) and Tom Araya (Slayer) in his voice. The guys played a blistering set, and it was the first time I had ever seen a circle mosh pit at The Starland! Be sure to grab copies of Walking Into Nightmares and Worlds Torn Asunder, and get out to see these guys live. They’re gonna be doing a lot of touring this spring and summer, so make sure you get to a show ’cause these guys know how to CRANK IT UP!