When we talk about the ‘big league’ of metalcore, we don’t necessarily mean the best bands in the genre, but the bands who can get crowds moving en masse. At a time when Parkway Drive arena shows are an inevitability and Architects, While She Sleeps and Bury Tomorrow are treading a similar path, seeing who’s next in line is always an exciting prospect. With their second album ‘Deadweight’, Floridian quintet Wage War throw their name into the hat.
Like their 2015 debut ‘Blueprints’, size matters when it comes to the songwriting arrangements on ‘Deadweight’. The riffs are big, the choruses are big, the breakdowns are big. Conjoined opening tracks ‘Two Years’ and ‘Southbound’ put these values at the forefront of the music, even ending with a massive ‘woah’ chant section.
To Wage War’s advantage, their penchant for massiveness brings an ability to write some of the catchiest choruses in modern metalcore, with ‘Don’t Let Me Fade Away’ and ‘Indestructible’ providing guaranteed earworms. While the all out fury that defines ‘Disdain’ and the record’s title track comes through organically thanks to the delivery of vocalist Briton Bond, who has the same believability when singing as The Ghost Inside’s Jonathan Vigil.
While ‘Deadweight’ does revolve around a winning formula, at 12 tracks, it does become repetitive and lesser album tracks like ‘Gravity’ and ‘Never Enough’ mar the impact of the real bangers on offer, while closer ‘Johnny Cash’ meanders through swathes of atmospheric textures without really going anywhere.
Nevertheless, ‘Deadweight’ is a well-made album with crossover appeal in the metalcore sub-genre. There’s enough aggression and pace for underground hardcore fans to sink their teeth into, while one could also picture their choruses gaining new fans on a Five Finger Death Punch support slot. Wage War aren’t in that category of ‘big’ metalcore bands yet, but they’re moving in the right direction.
‘Deadweight’ by Wage War is released on 4th August on Fearless Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)