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War Ripper – Strength in Numbers

War Ripper
Strength in Numbers
by Ricardo Casagrande at 30 September 2022, 1:57 PM

WAR RIPPER is a side project of TOXIC HOLOCAUST’s founding member Joel Grind. The Portland Oregon native is a multi-instrumentalist on this EP along with the first release from this project in 2007 titled Hellstorm. The EP is not a long one as it clocks in at just under nine minutes with five tracks of aggressive Thrashy punk with a touch of dark metal. It was released in 2020 with the time in between being dedicated to the touring for and recording of Joel’s main project TOXIC, which has been influential since its formation in 1999.

The EP starts off with the track “Abuse Through Power” as it begins with a classic fast driven punk drum line as the bass kicks in to accompany it. The guitar on the track is a little more towards a metal sound that Joel does a great job of intertwining for a catchy opening track. At just under a minute and a half of music, it follows suit to a forceful and directly to the point explosion of punk and metal. The next track up is “Trust What You Know” and is a great track that could get the audience moving regardless of preferred genre. It is a shot at the illusion put on by what you see in the world today and how it affects your opinions and actions. The lyrics “Trust what you know and not what you see” sums up this fist pumping track.

The drums on the EP are strong from start to finish providing a constant kick to the head from beginning to end. The tracks “Strength In Numbers” and “No Way Out” are supported in that same way with the drums and are paired with a more metal guitar riff for the first mentioned song and a more aggressively faster punk guitar for the second song. Both tracks are short and come right at you with a tense and unhinged pulsating rhythm which seems to be the structure for this release and the project as a whole. The final track is “Hit Reset” and it's a trash metal song that features the most variation in the music then on any of the other tracks. The unnerving guitar picking at the first is pretty unexpected as it opens up with an explosive guitar and pounding drums. A catchy melodic metal riff comes into play and gives you something to bang your head to as it carries the track to its ending. A great song that hits back to the hardcore punk metal that was coming out of New York City in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

I wouldn’t be surprised if bands like AGNOSTIC FRONT and SICK OF IT ALL were influences on Joel as he seems to put the spirit of hardcore into the music he makes. It is direct and captures the intensity with the vocals and the lyrics forming a backbone of raw emotional music. This becomes a reliable platform for kicked down, no future youth to stand on and rebel as a collective. The existence of this style was and is a very important influence on music back then, now and in times moving forward. The music was a form of therapy for a lot of people growing up when they had nowhere to turn and no one to talk to, but when you walked through the doors to one of the shows, you were not just one, you were one of many. A good release, short and sweet that hopefully is backed up with more material, as there will always be a place and ears for the style.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Abuse Through Power
2. Trust What You Know
3. Strength In Numbers
4. No Way Out
5. Hit Reset
Joel Grind – Vocals, All Instruments
Record Label: Dying Victims Productions


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