In 2013 when heavy metal outfit Wovenwar was officially announced, the community surrounding the metal world was cautiously optimistic. For one, it was labeled as a supergroup and those tend to not always come across in the way many fans expect with either too many creative differences or too much influence from one particular member. Secondly, the debut album ended up being self-titled which in and of itself is a tricky situation as many fans expect something truly special out of records that taken on the band’s name. Lastly, while it was a supergroup, there was undoubtedly a select few who were hoping it would bring forth a continuation of an As I Lay Dying sound, mixing in new vocalist Shane Blay. For the vast majority of fans of their old projects none of these potential issues arose as Wovenwar received its fair share of critical acclaim and brought forth a record that, while a typical metal fare, came together for a 55-minute adventure that never felt dull or overcompensated. A little over two years later and the group is set to unleash the next chapter of the band onto the world with their sophomore album, Honor Is Dead.
While Wovenwar was musically reminiscent to As I Lay Dying in regards to the instrumentation and heavy aspect, one of the bigger complaints many listeners had was the ultimate lack of screams and harsher vocal sections throughout the record. With Honor Is Dead, there’s far more varied vocal delivery structures including a higher utilization of growls, albeit used in brief spurts. When it comes to the base sound found throughout the entirety of the album, it’s similar in vein to their debut and has a quintessential metalcore vibe, however, Wovenwar also opt to further stretch their sound out through more evolved moments. Further, there’s ultimately stronger composition in the musical set pieces and song structure on display as the group approaches each track with its own identity, helping differentiate the overall albums sound without ruining the flow. The end result is a much more aggressive collection of tracks that are clearly representative of the band getting the weight off themselves and being true to themselves, no matter how dark and pessimistic the sound comes across.
New Wovenwar album “Honor is Dead” out October 21st, order at: http://www.metalblade.com/wovenwar “Censorship” from Wovenwar’s sophomore album “Honor is Dead” Animated/directed by Nick Hipa – http://www.nickhipa.com
To harp on the evolved moments mentioned earlier, one needs to look back at the core sound and presentation of the self-titled debut. The band went into that first record with an immense amount of pressure and a watchful eye of a huge fan base hoping for continuity and to an extent, Wovenwar delivered a slightly softer, but similar sound. With Honor Is Dead, the reliance of pure crunchy riffs, pounding drums and overall pure hard hitting instrumentation takes a backseat and instead lets their more melancholic, atmospheric and melodic side shine. “Compass” is the perfect example of all of these elements in motion as it’s a softer track that slowly builds over quiet guitar strings and a budding electronica bassline oozing atmosphere. Another dose of this is found on “Silhouette”, which once again puts off a softer sung approach highlighted by a simplistic, yet catchy drum pattern and soaring melodies. That isn’t to say the aggression is dead, nor are their roots forgotten as tracks like “Cascade” and “130” rarely let up and rely strongly on a constant barrage of double bass, wailing guitar riffs and incorporate the much desired screams, even if they are only utilized briefly.
With the inordinate amount of pressure placed upon Wovenwar due to their background and the sound they used to output, there’s always going to be those who hope they continue on rather than evolve and expand their musical talent. The desired harsh vocals make more, but still brief, appearances and the instrumentation isn’t as crunchy as As I Lay Dying was known for, but the intricacy and level of detail is taken to a new plane. That results in Honor Is Dead coming across as the right level of compromise between those fans yearning for the old and the desire of the band to create the music they feel at peace with as the album itself is diverse and free flowing without forgetting where it comes from. The outcome is a record that puts the band in an interesting place as the continuity in sound from the debut and previous projects shines through at times, while the overall composition and level of progression sees a leap forward, leaving many to wonder where they’ll go next.