ALBUM REVIEW: WAGE WAR – PRESSURE

User Rating: 8.6

OVERVIEW

It’s usually after a second album you begin to think you know who a band is and what they’re going for. By this time, they have typically established the sound synonymous with their name and what their fans and followers will (to a fault) associate them with. Now some bands tend to stick with this cookie cutter mould that they and other groups before have put in place due to their own comfort level, or by sticking to pleasing the masses and playing what they think their fans want. But there are also those who put their neck out and risk everything. Revamp and redesign what so many have pegged them to be. This doesn’t always pan out the way a group would hope, but in the case of Wage War’s upcoming album entitled Pressure, they have picked a battle and won the war. Sure, three of the four singles released seem to stick to the standard Wage War formula of intense, rhythmic, “BEGH” fueled metalcore, and yet this album takes what one figured the group to be and flips it the fuck on its head. On their sophomore album, Deadweight, we were given a taste of vocalist Briton Bond’s potential for clean vocals. On Pressure though, Bond’s signature throaty, guttural screams have taken somewhat have a backseat to an actually incredible set of clean singing abilities. This isn’t to say that Wage War have even remotely lost their angry edge. There’s plenty of rage riddled throughout with plenty of furious scrams, ballistic drumming, and guitars meant to shake the walls. But the band has discovered a whole new set of skills that have only helped to deliver a much more refined and cohesive overall sound. In fact, it’s quite fitting that the album is named Pressure. Regardless of the fact that it has little to no point to do with the album title, one could only imagine the amount of pressure (for lack of a better word) the group must have been under in wanting to show the world a whole new side of them. Well this listener truly has zero fears that it will more than pay off.

Genre: Metalcore | Hard Rock | Alternative
Label: Fearless Records
Release: August 30, 2019
Connect: Facebook | Twitter
Purchase: iTunes | Google Play

FLOW / LONGEVITY / ORIGINALITY

When listening to Pressure track by track it’s actually hard to see how each song could flow easily into the next. As previously stated, the group has found themselves in newfound territory musically so there is a song here and there that isn’t as intense and tends to side more on a heavier rock side as opposed to straight up core. So, when sidled up next to one of the more angry and bombastic tunes, one starts to wonder why the order of songs that’s been presented was chosen. But when you actually just listen to the emotion and overall message the band was trying to convey, then everything falls into place. Pressure flows so incredibly well because of how tenacious the group was in knowing exactly what they wanted us all to hear and feel. You get so caught up in initially being blown away at how different this album is for a group like Wage War and yet how amazing it actually is, that you actually begin to forget that it’s so drastically divergent from almost anything they’ve released before.

Longevity. Summed up quickly; the long duration of life. Well let me tell you the duration of life for Pressure will be infinite. When initially hearing the single “Me Against Myself” I wondered what exactly the band was thinking. Now I loved the track as a song on its own, but admittedly I was always a little thrown off at first being that it was a song by Wage War. It almost sounded borderline, dare I say…alternative. I’m sure it threw many for a loop, but at the same time it wasn’t as if they hadn’t had a softer song or two on their previous albums. But what I think most will be ill prepared for is how many ‘softer’ songs there actually are on the album. But that is far from anything negative. Any listener could tell that this was far from a foolhardy decision, and that Wage War went into this thinking about every single element a choice like this would entail. The fact is almost every single song on Pressure is memorable in its own right. For this simple fact alone, this album will have many spins even past the release of any future albums from the group.

Now when it comes to originality, it isn’t as if the band has reinvented the wheel. This, although very different for them, is not a sound that plenty of other bands have done before. But that’s not really the point. Although not the most original release on the grand scheme of things, it IS completely original for the band themselves. And for that reason, Pressure will stand out tall amongst its peers.

Wage War – Me Against Myself

Wage War – Me Against Myself From the album ‘Pressure’ – available August 30th Pre-order and pre-save the album below: Merch – https://found.ee/pressure_merch iTunes – https://found.ee/pressure_it Apple Music – https://found.ee/pressure_am Spotify Pre-Save – https://found.ee/pressure_sp Google Play – https://found.ee/pressure_gp Amazon Music – https://found.ee/pressure_amz Album Pre-Save – https://found.ee/pressure_presave Stay connected with Wage War: Website – http://wagewarband.com/ Facebook – https://found.ee/wagewarfacebook Instagram – https://found.ee/wagewarinstagram Twitter – https://found.ee/wagewartwitter YouTube – https://found.ee/wagewaryoutube LYRICS Is it me against myself?

VOCALS / INSTRUMENTATION

Where do I begin when it comes to the vocals on this record? This wouldn’t be the first time any of us had heard a lead vocalist who’s initial skillset included at the most a high scream and a low scream begin a foray into actually singing (to be clear Briton Bond’s screams are in my opinion unique as hell, and help the band stand out as a whole). This doesn’t always pan out, and at times many listeners are stuck wondering why they hadn’t just stuck to what they knew best. That couldn’t be further from the case this time around. To put it bluntly Briton Bond has literally blown me away with how phenomenal of a clean vocalist he actually is. Dude’s got range! On songs like “Prison” and “Forget My Name” you hear a softer and smoother delivery at times, whereas on songs such as “Prison” and “The Line” he gives us a newly discovered mix of scream/sung snippets that are perfect for softer to louder build ups. In fact, if you want to hear a Briton’s cleans focused track and fully see what he is now able to do, then check out “Forget My Name” first. Musically it is one of the softer tracks on the album, yet none the less it is incredibly dynamic and has a vast number of elements to pique any and all interests. Briton has not though forgotten to expand on what he’s capable of when it comes to his screams. On the track “Ghost” it would seem that he has pushed his abilities the furthest he ever has in the past. One could only assume his throat was left hurting and raw after a take or two of that during recording. Cody Quistad continues to delivery most of the clean choruses and as per usual nails it every time. When the two vocalists harmonize in almost duet like situations, I promise you it will blow your minds.

The instrumentation was yet another part of this album that truly amazed me and captured and kept my interest throughout. Now, I will say that it isn’t the most complex or intricate of albums instrumentally, but more so for the simple fact that this also was something new for the band to be playing. Subtle electronic elements have been sparsely added here and there to help accentuate certain points in certain songs. This can be heard on tracks like “Grave” and “Hurt” where these added touches helped to create the overall feel for the song and would have been lesser if they had not had these new nuances. “grave is especially catchy and infectious due to some incredibly drumming from Stephen Kluesner. What actually surprised me the most was some of the almost progressive and ambient additions to the group’s repertoire of skills. This is especially heard on album closer “Will We Ever Learn”. A somber ending track whose heavier parts only help to amplify the overall emotion, the airy elements added to the background help to hit that point home even further.

COMPOSITION / PRODUCTION

Pressure is the result of a group of individuals coming together and writing and creating a work of art that could only have been accomplished by everyone working together. They took examples from their lives that came from places of distress, anger, and sadness then channeled them into a laser focused formulation. Yes, the words are what help the listener to better understand what was going through their heads and the meaning of each song, but it’s the combination of that and the visceral emotion put forth by the instruments that help to truly delivery any and all sentiments. Without one the other would not have been as impactful. It’s this fact that can be truly understood and felt simply by listening that has made Pressure stand out so strongly when even compared to the bands past releases and makes the album so unbelievably cohesive.

The production on Pressure is undeniably crisp and concise. With a production team featuring the likes of Drew Fulk and Jeremy McKinnon, amongst other musical juggernauts, one would expect nothing less. It is abundantly clear that each and every element and sound was painstakingly thought about. No stone was left unturned. This has been what has helped Pressure become a true listening experience as opposed to simply just another metalcore release.

Wage War – Low (Official Music Video)

Wage War – Low From the new album ‘Pressure’ – out August 30th Pre-order and pre-save the album below: Merch – https://found.ee/pressure_merch iTunes – https://found.ee/pressure_it Apple Music – https://found.ee/pressure_am Spotify Pre-Save – https://found.ee/pressure_sp Google Play – https://found.ee/pressure_gp Amazon Music – https://found.ee/pressure_amz Album Pre-Save – https://found.ee/pressure_presave Video by: Orie McGinness www.enlightencreativestudio.com Produced by Jeremy McKinnon Engineering by Andrew Wade Additional engineering, mixing & mastering by Mark Lewis.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Pressure truly is the perfect title for this record. From the well thought out subject matter in each song, to what the band must have felt or still be feeling leading up to its release. How fitting as well that the album cover depicts a large and shining diamond. A diamond is what results when enough pressure is applied to the element carbon. Much like the trials and tribulations that we can face on a daily basis a diamond must go through an intense amount of pressure before the beauty is found. This is a perfect definition for life itself. No matter how much strife one can face, there is always a brighter side to be had. Something that Wage War did not take for granted when creating this album. There really will be something for everyone on Pressure. It has that raw intensity one has come to expect from the group, but at the same time shows just how multifaceted Wage War can be. This will not leave fans of old behind, but merely pick up plenty of new ones along the way. I was a big fan of Wage War before this record who loved to blast a tune or two from time to time, but now I’m a forever fan that can’t wait to hear more.

Summary
Wage War have undergone a multitude of pressure in creating what has to be their greatest record yet. One couldn't even begin to count the ways the group has begun to reinvent themselves without betraying who they've always been. Whether you want to hear the window shattering heavy anthems, or bop along to an infectious singalong, there's something for everyone. Pressure is the groups most cohesive record to date, and will forever be a powerful standout.
Good
  • Varied and mutifacted songs
  • New ground for Wage War
  • Incredibly cohesive writing both lyrically and instrumentally
Bad
  • Somewhat odd placement of song order
8.6
Great
Vocals - 9
Instrumentation - 8
Originality - 8
Longevity - 9
Flow - 8
Production - 10
Composition - 8

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