War of Ages
posted on 4/2010 By:
I’ve long championed War of Ages on this site, them and their Christian take on a more melodic-death-metal-influenced metalcore, and I’ve enjoyed all of their albums, especially 2008's Arise and Ruin, where they distanced themselves from their obvious peers and delivered a stern melodic death metal record. But with their fourth album, something seems to have gone wrong as the band has ventured into the land of more commercial, radio-friendly metalcore/American metal like Killswitch Engage, All That Remains and As I Lay Dying.
And I don’t mention As I Lay Dying merely because Eternal was produced at Tim Lambesis’ Castleman studios, but because the overall tone and approach seems to be far more rooted in As I Lay Dying’s more commercial side, as War of Ages seems to have veered away from a pretty bristling melo-death approach to a more simple, verse/chorus/verse structure, an increase in clean vocals and, frankly, more watered-down songwriting.
The change is apparent from the opening trio of “Collapse," “Desire” (featuring Lambesis) and “Failure,” which actually sound like tracks from As I Lay Dying’s Shadows are Security, and they serve as a red flag for much of the rest of the album. And it’s a crying shame, as here and there, guitarists Branon Bernatowicz and Steve Brown occasionally deliver some killer riffs and sumptuous harmonies, but most of the time, they are hampered by stale pacing and simply unenergetic and by-the-numbers chunky, generic, metalcore/hardcore.
Teasing moments of “My Resting Place," “The Fallen” and “Your Betrayal” briefly show the band’s once-fierce promise and ability, but then you listen to the title track (featuring POD’s Sonny Sandoval doing his rap metal voice thing) and the tepid “Lack of Clarity” (featuring As I Lay Dying’s/Year One’s Josh Gilbert), and you realize that War of Ages may have jumped the shark and simply leapt into the mire of other mediocre Christian metal acts rather than distinguishing themselves from the Christian metal pack, as they once did.
I guess this will tide fans over until The Powerless Tide comes out next month. But personally the debut from label mates Letter to the Exiles is holding my attention much more than this disappointing release.
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