Album of the Week 33-2016: WarCry – Alfa

While maybe not directly associated with heavy music, southern Europe loves its Power Metal. As a result, a lot of bands playing that style pop up in countries like Greece, Italy and Spain that are popular in their home countries, but not so much over the border. Often, these bands just aren’t good enough to stand out in the saturated field of European Power Metal, but in case of WarCry, I think the Spanish language is really the only obstacle. It shouldn’t be. Give ‘Alfa’ one spin and you’ll hear all the euphoric, anthemic Power Metal you need on this side of the globe.

Many fingers point toward ‘Alea Jacta Est’ as WarCry’s best record. And while that album contains a lot of good music, it lacks the coherence that ‘Alfa’ – and its follow-up ‘Inmortal’ – do have. ‘Alfa’ isn’t quite as eclectic, but feels more like you’re listening to the same band for the entire album. And yet, there’s enough variation to keep the listener entertained all the way through. There’s definitely an outlined style at work here, but a catchy chorus and to a lesser extent its location within the song are the only things set in stone. Tempos, atmospheres and approaches vary.

Interestingly, WarCry almost always deviates from the standard Power Metal formula of opening with your best song. Not that ‘Alma De Conquistador’ is a bad song; in fact, it’s a very effective moodsetter for this record. However, it isn’t until later that the true brilliance of the Spaniards – sorry, Asturians – shines through. ‘La Muerte De Un Sueño’, ‘Amistad’ and ‘Ardo Por Dentro’ are all excellent, passionate slabs of Power Metal where none of the musicians outshine the actual song. Sure, Víctor García’s gruff, yet melodic throat is front and center and Pablo García regularly fires a blazing guitar solo towards the listener, but the song is always leading.

Generally, WarCry’s ballads bore the hell out of me and ‘Recuérdalo’ is no exception. The composition just hasn’t much going and the tempo is rather sedate. Better is the borderline progressive ‘Todo Es Infierno’, which has some balladesque sections and a surprisingly complex structure by WarCry standards. Another relatively progressive moment is Pablo García’s composition ‘Apariencias’, which has a complex guitar line, but also a strong seventies vibe due to Santi Novoa’s Hammond sounds. And a beautiful, intense chorus. ‘Tan Fácil’ is another masterpiece on the more atmospheric side of the spectrum and ‘Cobarde’ shows the band’s class even in midtempo.

The moment I stopped caring about understanding the language in which the lyrics are sung, a true treasure trove opened before me. WarCry was one of those treasures. It’s not like they do anything particularly special, they just do what they do extremely well. If you like your Power Metal anthemic, fun and melodic, ‘Alfa’ is a more than worthy addition to your collection. And there’s a good chance that you’ll be singing along the choruses despite not knowing any Spanish. You won’t be alone; that’s exactly what happened to me as well.

Recommended tracks: ‘Ardo Por Dentro’, ‘La Muerte De Un Sueño’, ‘Amistad’

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