Warchest is a wonderfully retro-sounding thrash outfit from Chile that pushes all the right buttons on their debut LP, Aftershock. Warchest will remind the longtime metalhead of those glorious thrash bands of the mid- to late 1980s — before the formulaic cookie-monster vocals became in vogue. The throaty vocals of Christian Pelaez sound more Tom Araya-ish than much of the heavy metal frontmen out there today. This is a good thing. In fact, you can tell the entire band has been bred on Slayer.

It all starts on a positive note with the title track/opener. From the first solidly produced guitar sound it is full speed ahead, and Aftershock provides everything good about the thrash metal glory years. It’s all quality thrash metal here — even when Warchest throws the listener a fast one and slips in a Alice In Chains/Metallica hybrid of a brooder, “Let Me Down,” it doesn’t let you down at all. But the best is saved for last with the superb balls-out crunch of “Fear of the Machine.”

All the musicians are solid but it is the lead guitar of Domingo Vial that brings it all together. It’s hard to wait ’til the lead break. There’s a high anticpation for it! Not only are the guitar solos above the fold but they can surprise you. When you expect a typical shredding, out comes a NWOBHM-influenced lead ala John Sykes — and it works out so well.

Warchest’s Aftershock is one of the most enjoyable metal releases of the year. If you like anything of quality, it’s worth the purchase.

For more information, go to the band’s MySpace page here.

Label: Madness Records (the album can be ordered in CD and MP3 format by clicking here).