Warkings
Morgana

At Teeth of the Divine, we all have our own individual tastes and personal preferences when it comes to metal – a point which has, unfortunately, led to some words we wish we hadn’t said and no shortage of blood left on each of our hands. Literally. We’ve made some… mistakes… ANYWAY, one thing that we do all generally agree on, is that if you’re gonna do Power Metal, go all-in with it! Wind Rose, Victorius, Powerwolf – find whatever your shtick is and just go friggin’ bonkers with it! If you’re not having fun, what the hell is even the point?

To that end, Warkings have made a nice little niche for themselves, going in-character to perform rousing songs involving military history – mostly focusing on Roman and Spartan themes, but sprinkling in some viking and crusader stuff as well (hence all their characters, The Tribune, The Spartan, The Crusader and, you guessed it, The Viking). While Warkings certainly fills the bill of “all-in” power metal we all here tend to love, they never quite got to that level of adoration we have for those previously mentioned acts. Solid, but just not with quite the staying power. But this new album, Morgana? Oh baby, these metal warmongers might be on to something, here.

So a couple things of note – first being, the band has recruited a mercenary into their ranks in the form of Morgana le Fay (voiced by German singer and voice actress, Secil Sen), Prince Arthur’s infamous witchy sister. Her addition on Morgana comes with a bit of ambiguity – is she a permanent member? Is this just a one-time kind of thing? WHO’S TO SAY?! I hope she’s sticking around for the long haul though, as her addition has adds a whole new dynamic to Warking‘s sound that takes it to another level. She adds both a clean to harmonize Georg Neuhauser’s soaring choruses, but primarily (and most notably) she adds a pretty great, raspy harsh vocal delivery that adds a sneering, sinister energy to the whole sound, helping to make for a much more interesting listen. And the band lets her presence be felt right off the bat – with “Hellfire” storming out of the gate with maybe the band’s most aggressive riff to date, and Morgana’s demonic vocals on full display. It actually hits more like a Melodeath track a la Arch Enemy or The Agonist than it does Power Metal, though when Neuhauser’s vocals enter the fray it certainly begins to lean in that direction. The contrast makes for a pleasant and dynamic listening experience, and the whole band seems more energized than every before, with guitarist Markus Pohl ripping out a truly great solo along the way as inspired as any he’s recorded before.

And indeed, many of the album’s most interesting tracks seem to be ones that heavily feature Morgana (She’s officially listed on only 5 of the album’s 10 tracks, two covers notwithstanding). “Heart of Rage” features some really cool, mesmerizing Middle Eastern accents and influences, and the clean duet between Morgana and The Tribune is truly a thing of beauty, catching you with an absolute earworm of a melody. Her last official credit on “Immortal” is a much darker, moodier track, which again features some great harmonized vocals during the chorus, while her seething harsh vocals continue to bite at the bone and give the track more of an edge.

Outside of the Morgana tracks, there’s a couple other notable gems, including “To The King,” which plays out like a modern day Amon Amarth track in it’s rousing, midpaced glory – complete with a chorus that will certainly be an absolute ball to sing along with live. While Warkings may still have a fairly simple, straightforward delivery, the band seems to be kicking it into a higher gear this time around. To that end, “Last of the English,” quite simply, SLAPS. Like “Hellfire,” it shows off the band’s newfound sense of urgency and aggression, grabbing you by your tattered chain mail and demanding your attention before delivering a final, fatal blow. “Shame” taps into that famous scene from “Game of Thrones,” with an infectious, fun-to-follow “SHAME!” chant that, again, seems purpose-built for a hell of a good time through the band’s next festival circuit.

I hope Morgana stays a regular member of the band, but if not, I hope at least this opens the band up to bringing other characters into the mix down the road, because it really seems to have given the band an extra creative boost, making Morgana easily the band’s best effort. If you just want something fun that gets your fists pumping, this album will definitely do the trick. If you’ve passed on these guys in the past, go ahead and give this one a chance – you may be pleasantly surprised.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
December 1st, 2022

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