Band: War Of Ages
Title: Pride Of The Wicked
Label: Facedown Records
Release Date: 9/5/06
Review By: Josh IndieVision
01. Guide For The Helpess
02. Rise From The Ashes
03. Strength Within
04. Absence Of Fear
05. The Fall Of Pride
06. Heart Of A Warrior
08. Bitter Sweet
09. Silence Insecurities
10. Stone By Stone
Leroy Hamp: Vocals
Steve Brown: Guitar
Jonathan Lynch: Guitar
TJ Alford: Bass
Alex Hamp: Drums
War Of Ages, from Erie PA, released their debut LP on Strike First Records, a sub-label of Facedown, just about 2 years back now. The release did well enough to garner them a spot on the impressive roster at Facedown. A band who tours relentlessly, playing over 250 shows in 2005 and who hopefully will continue that trend in 2006. The sheer intensity of this band have propelled them to the front of the hardcore/metal crossover acts. They avoid the similarities with groups like As I Lay Dying and Unearth, whom are copied on a regular basis and have instead presented a different approach. Catchy guitar work and savage breakdowns will shred your ears but leave you begging for more. As soon as I hit play a huge smile must have occurred. “Guide For The Helpless” intro is amazing and I honestly wish, I suppose due to my metalhead tendencies, that they would have kept that pace throughout the verses. Instead the slow it down, albeit roughly, to a more sludgy thick verse, and then 2 step it for awhile after that. Vocally the verse is Leroy’s throaty scream, which I have no clue how he keeps up without straining himself. Also used is a more yelled gang type of vocal, with a hint of melody. The interlude is pretty sweet with a long drawn out breakdown leading full force into some nice guitar work, which in turn leads back into the intro of the song.
“Rise From The Ashes” is another beautifully intro-ed song. Harmonizing guitars shall always be pleasant to the ears. The time change in this track is better and flows better than the first. It seems that the band has attempted to branch out, just a small amount don’t worry, to include a little more melodious sounds to their normally brutal approach.
“Aftermath” has a different feel to me. The guitar chord progression is far more melodic. I like that they brought some variety but that they didn’t stray too far from their path. There are some new guitar sounds, rhythms, and certainly better riffagen which really increase the value of the album as a whole.
Standout Tracks: “Strength Within”, “The Fall Of Pride”, “Bitter Sweet”
Overall Rating: This album is unrelenting in it’s ferocity and accurately portrays the band’s tireless enthusiasm. For the most part things stay upbeat and lively and keep your head bobbing. A band who has greatly matured musically in the past 2 years, and released an album that will secure them a spot at the head of the pack. I have listened to this album many times already and continually find new things to enjoy each time. “Pride Of The Wicked” could quickly become the best selling Facedown release because it’s just that great!
Album Art/Design: A breathtaking battle scene was Quiggle’s approach on the cover of the album. You see a lone warrior standing strong and fighting of a hoard of enemies. Inside you see the wasteland of the aftermath of his fight. Vultures, skulls, helmets, and abandoned weapons are littered along the darkened scene.
Lyrics: I enjoyed Leroy’s in-your-face approach to lyrics, which definitely is normal in hardcore circles. Thankfully his lyrics are encouraging (“Strength Within”, “Heart Of A Warrior”) as well as challenging (“Silenced Insecurities”). Pride is definitely a theme found in multiple songs lyrics. The typical “stand and fight” hardcore mentality is definitely a present in a few songs as well, except these songs go beyond just simple life and deal directly with faith. (“Show me your strength, this is our time to bleed. We’ve sufffered for far too long. I won’t give in. We”ll fight.”)[All lyrics are included in booklet]
Marketability: The ability can and will appeal to fans of both 2 step hardcore and those of guitar oriented metal. Brutally intense breakdowns are still used throughout, which will keep the metalcore dancers quite busy and happy. The band’s live performance is quite in your face and ears as well, as they turn the volume up as loud as can be and punish your auditory senses. I’m looking forward to checking them out on an upcoming tour to see how the new tunes play out live.
Production: Far beyond their debut this album sounds much tighter and more fluid. Recorded at Trax East Studios and was engineered by Eric Rachel, who has worked with Atreyu, Hatebreed, and plenty more. It was definitely a wise choice for their label debut. I’m thinking ahead a few years for sure, but I would like to see WOA team up with Adam D. of Killswitch Engage fame. His ability to hone talent is renowned and I think would cause even more improvement with WOA’s metal side.
Vocals: I’ve always enjoyed Leroy’s vocals, even on the Point Zero disc. Reminiscent of Hatebreed and other hardcore outfits, Leroy blends that feel with the metal sounds. Normally a metalcore vocalist will dive more into the growly approach but he resists that temptation. Simply yelled (gang vocal style) vocals are also used quite a bit. Thankfully he’s stayed true and avoided the trendy sounds.
Buy: Facedown Records Store