Album Review :
War of Ages - Alpha

By in Reviews | 12 Comments

Label: Facedown Records
Release Date: December, 8th 2017

Tracklisting:

  1. Creator
  2. Fullness
  3. Buried Alive
  4. Warfare
  5. Hollow Point
  6. Repentance
  7. Mind Control
  8. Immunity Revoked
  9. Warrior
  10. Cut Throat

Serving up a brand of metalcore that combines classic rock shredding with breakneck double bass and everything in between, War of Ages has been a mainstay in the heavy world music since the release of their self titled album in 2005. However, outside of jamming the singles over the years, WOA have never been a band I have given a fair shake.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always checked WOA out in a live setting, but somehow their album releases have always escaped. After listening to Alpha on repeat the last two weeks, my negligence will become a thing of the past as I eagerly await more of the metalcore goodness War of Ages brings to the table.

Creator kicks the album into gear after a brief stint of chanted vocals. Creator mostly plays things safe, as the cut takes a streamlined approach in delivering a mid tempo fist raising anthem. The most apparent thing once the picks up steam is the gorgeous production on the album. Every guitar lead glides through the mix of chunky chugs and drum batters.

The back to back assault of Fullness and Buried Alive are truly where the band hit their stride. Leroy Hamp truly shines as he chooses a unique and memorably melody in the for the infectious chorus found in Fullness before plunging into hellacious screams. Additionally guitarists Steve Brown and Jack Daniels must be commended for their ability to ease in and out of groovy riffs and melodic leads. In particular, the bridge of Buried Alive hosts a fun solo that could have easily been found on a classic metal album.

Hollow Point is my personal favorite on the album and sure to be a staple in the live show. Showcasing everything the band has to offer, Warfare finds every member of the band firing on all cylinders. The riffing on the track is a constant roller coaster; one minute showcasing flanger doused tones, while the next cranking the distortion up all the way. Leroy truly showcases his pipes during the chorus as he howls “I’m dying inside…”

Immunity Revoked finds the band flexing their experimental muscles with an instrumental track that sounds like it could have been taken off “The Parallax II: Future Sequence” by Between the Buried and Me. Often times, metalcore band’s instrumental tracks come across as filer – something to get 10 tracks on the album. However, Immunity Revoked is a solid track that shows off exceptional guitar work and phenomenal drumming; blending classical elements with modern stylings and throwing blast beats in the mix of baffling tempos.

The penultimate track, Warrior, follows up the mild instrumental by cementing itself as the heaviest track on the album. Within seconds, Warrior brings to mind imagery of flailing arms and room spinning circle pits. Arguably the heaviest track on the album, Warrior provides one of the beefiest breakdowns on the album before diving into an extended guitar solo.

Overall: Alpha has left me feeling like I’ve been missing out on this band for all these years. Combining the best parts of modern and classic metal, the Eerie, PA natives have crafted one of the most solid heavy albums of the year and made a lifelong fan out of me.

RIYL: As I Lay Dying | Phinehas | Demon Hunter

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12 Comments on "War of Ages - Alpha"

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Andrew

I’ve been a War of Ages fan since Pride of the Wicked and I may be out of the loop, but it feels like there are guest vocals on this album a ton. Are all of those clean vocals sung by Hamp?

Mark K

Finally grabbed this a few weeks ago. Absolutely love it! Definitely my favorite from the band. If they keep this guitar duo going I’ll be instantly buying anything after this from now on.

Helis Hx

I really enjoyed Alpha, especially “Fullness” chorus, that brings a truly emotion in this album. I just don’t liked so much “Warrior” but in general this album is awesome, better than Supreme Chaos that is fantastic too. Alpha 9/10 IMO.

Tony

Pride of the wicked got me into these guys way back in 2006. Arise and conquer and eternal were both good. I feel like through the flames helped put them on the map. Having sonny from pod on the title track “eternal” helped too. I actually liked return to life more than people give it credit for. “Psalms” is a great worship oriented track. Supreme chaos definitely broadened their sound though. This is like a combination of the old stuff and supreme chaos. I do wish they would add an extra few songs in future releases though.

I was literally blown away surprised by this album. I blindly pre-ordered this as I have really enjoyed War of Ages and their previous work. But this album is a huge step forward – I’ve had a multiple moments during the album that have made me wonder if I was still listening to the same band as before :D So much progression in their sound and style. Much more progressive and diverse style this time around. Awesome album! I would say this is no more metalcore actually :)

Smacky X

“…literally blown away…” I’d love to hear that story.

Smacky X

Great review man! You’re right- you have been missing out. ;)
In my opinion, comparing different albums of these guys is comparing different degrees of greatness, and Alpha is no different.
Also- I completely share your love for Hollow Point.

Mark K

This sounds like it’ll be their best so far. Supreme Chaos was their first album I truly enjoyed. I didn’t care for their early material, Eternal was a big jump up for me, Return to Life was ok and SC made them a band I actually thought I may start following. I think they’ve only gotten better over time. I’m a bog fan of Hope For The Dying so the addition of Jack Daniels really piqued my interest and he’s proved a major asset to the band and has moved them in a positive direction for my tastes.

Keith
War of Ages is weird like that for me. I’m never unhappy to hear them. I never dislike the music. However, they have a little bit of a tendency to get lost in my play habits. They’re never really a bad I binge, but it’s not because I don’t like them. They’re really good, but I wouldn’t hate if they put forth a little more variety in their albums. They don’t jump around as much as you hear in the albums from that RILY pair of Phinehas and Demon Hunter, but then again, maybe it’s a really good thing they… Read more »
Mark K
I’ll purchase this eventually. I’ve got too much to listen to right now. For me War of Ages is band that has gotten better over time. I don’t care for the early material. It’s not for me. Starting with Eternal there was more to like but that and Return to Life didn’t have as much staying power as I hoped. Supreme Chaos was their best yet having more classic metal riffing and some better solos. This album, now that Jack Daniels from Hope For The Dying (a band with huge classic metal influences and complex soloing) has been fully integrated,… Read more »
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