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Review: Pagan War Machine - Bayonets & Battle Scars
Pagan War Machine
Bayonets & Battle Scars

Label: Independent
Year released: 2003
Duration: 32:16
Tracks: 7
Genre: Thrash Metal


Review online: September 21, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 1/5 (20%) (1 Vote)

Seems like Jim Durkin (ex-Dark Angel) and Steve Gaines (ex-Abbatoir) are splitting their time between Dreams of Damnation and this, their other band together. Of the two, I have to say I prefer Pagan War Machine. This demo contains four recorded tracks and three live tracks showing off PWM's aggressive old-style thrash assault.

I should come as no surprise that there is a major bay-area influence here, and the music at times sounds a bit like the newer Agent Steel stuff, with a backlash of old Pantera here and there. A lot of that is vocalist Steve Gaines' harsh yet tuneful holler which is much more charismatic and dynamic than the screamers most post-thrashers sign up. Does anybody remember when you could have a thrash band and have a real singer? Sigh. But Gaines is fine, and as the live tracks attest, he has a lot of energy onstage. But the real star of the War Machine is the energetic riffage of mainman Durkin, once the genius behind Dark Angel – he was the pedal to their metal – and he hasn't lost his touch, as he churns out some highly enjoyable steel riffs here. "Bullet Proof" and the slightly ballad-esque "Eyes that Burn the Soul" stand out as the two best cuts here, the other two aren't bad, but they are not as interesting. The sound is pretty good for a demo, and while the live tracks sound a bit chaotic, they do a good job of conveying the band's onstage energy.

With the combination of thrash pedigree and an aggressive riff attack, Pagan War Machine (that has got to be one of the coolest band names ever) are definitely worthy of a record contract, as I can see that with time and work they could produce a killer album. I didn't mark this higher because it's too damned short and it only has 2 really good songs on it, but those 2 are enough to make me want to hear what this band has in store. If these guys bring out an album, put me down for a copy.

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