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