Great news for fans of high(ish) concept heavy metal: The Tribune, The Viking, The Spartan and The Crusader have reconvened as WARKINGS and delivered another slab of avowedly straightforward but knowingly preposterous old- (with a dash of new) school power metal bluster. Ignoring the fact that the Internet rarely allows anyone to maintain anonymity and the band’s secret identities are not particularly secret at this point, WARKINGS‘ shtick makes perfect sense in the age of zero mystique and has already pushed the band to a fairly prominent position in the European power metal firmament. Their previous two albums, “Reborn” (2018) and “Revenge” (2020), went down a storm with fans of this stuff, not least due to the immaculate crunch of WARKINGS‘ (seemingly) big-budget sound, but also because songs about the Roman Empire are very fucking metal.
Just over a year on from “Revenge”, “Revolution” arrives, sounding almost exactly like its two predecessors and continuing their lyrical themes with a rather endearing, wide-eyed gusto. Keen observers may pick up on a few small sonic improvements here and there. From “We are the Fire” onwards, this is arguably WARKINGS‘ heaviest record, and the likes of “Sparta – Part II” and “Spartacus” (featuring a cameo from The Lost Lord) benefit greatly from lots of subtle embellishments, atmospheric touches and surges of quasi-orchestral pomp.
These are all catchy songs, too, of course. “We are the Fire” is an obvious show opener and bellow-along anthem, “Fight” delivers the kind of motivational impetus that many of us are craving right now and “Ave Roma” emits faint shades of POWERWOLF, while simultaneously sounding like some lost VICIOUS RUMORS cut from the late ’80s. Best of all, “Ragnar” transports the action to the Viking Age, with all the rampaging riffing and folk-tinged melodies that such an endeavor entails. It’s a slight change of pace and tone that suits WARKINGS perfectly, and it’s not hard to crave a few more departures from an otherwise steady diet of chest-thumping bombast.
The only major drawback to the whole enterprise is that there are countless other bands ploughing a similar musical furrow and WARKINGS only occasionally sound like a band with a distinctive agenda or any fresh ideas of real substance. And maybe that’s the point.
For those whose appetite for grandiose and stirring power metal is insatiable, “Revolution” will scratch an important itch. In a somewhat overpopulated genre, however, WARKINGS seem to be merely scratching the surface of their own potential.