Release DetailsLABEL Facedown Records
RELEASED ON 9/5/2006
War of Ages
Pride of the Wicked
posted on 9/2006 By:
A vast improvement over the debut, and some solid competition for Unearth and As I Lay Dying...
While this Eerie, PA Christian metalcore act’s self titled debut didn’t do a whole lot for me, the follow-up, with its attention grabbing artwork, fuller production, and more focus on Unearth (so hence Maiden) styled solo work and melodic leads is a far more impressive and memorable affair.
More focused on galloping dual harmonies and traditional heavy metal pacing littered with some very neat guitar work, than the more breakdown heavy and slightly more hardcore styled debut, the development of War of Ages is immediate in the first two tracks alone. “Guide For The Helpless” (the break at 1:37 is pure Unearth) and “Rise From the Ashes” with its deft, catchy flourishes had me nodding in appreciation, some thing the mediocre first few tracks of the debut failed to do, though the last 1/4 of that album was decent and The Pride of The Wicked seems to have built on that momentum. I hate to drive the point home but the Unearth-ish opening of “Strength Within” is also pleasing, with some nice but brief arpeggios amid the more hardcore styled stomp.
Truth be told, each track is actually pretty solid and enjoyable for a genre with lots of melodic shredding and wailing solos; “The Fall of Pride”, “Heart of Warrior”, noddle-riffic “Aftermath” and the urgent As I Lay Dying-ish “Silent Insecurities” and if you promise not top tell Metal Blade, I’ve actually been giving this a lot more air time than Chapter III: In The Eyes of Fire as it sounds a bit more fluid and less rigid than Unearths’s most recent opus. Some gang chants and a few breakdowns (i.e. “Bittersweet”) litter the other wise cantering pace and driving harmonies, but it's not too overt.
The spoken word close of “Stone By Stone” may be a bit too cliched and dramatic for the non Christians among you but I think it closes the album out nicely and delivers the band’s beliefs without having it interrupt the actual music too much. However, there are no clean vocals or other somber interludes, so there is a balance. The Eric Rachael (Hatebreed, Dead to Fall, Atreyu) production is far more weightier than the band's debut, but that’s what a shift from Strikefirst to Facedown will get you.
If you can get over the fact that the band is a bit of an Unearth/As I Lay Dying clone, albeit a rather good one, The Pride of the Wicked is a very good metalcore record, and personally better than both of their peers' most recent efforts, but I will let you make your own judgement.
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