Rewind Review: Wage War -Pressure
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Wage War‘s third full length album Pressure has proved to be a very controversial one. Often times by a groups 3 effort you really get to see the style they want to play rather than aping their idols or fitting into a scene. With their first two releases the band has established themselves as a heavy metalcore act that packs a hard hitting punch with some of the best breakdowns in the scene. With this previously mentioned formula the band had quickly made themselves one of the most beloved and accept newcomers in the metalcore scene and you’d be hard pressed to find something bad uttered about them. Unfortunately with that territory comes a struggle for creativity and evolution. Often bands that become renowned for a specific very style quickly find themselves stuck in a cycle of making the same record over and over. Wage War clearly made an effort to break this cycle and try something new on Pressure. Undoubtedly this attempt at stepping out of their breakdown-laden proven formula doesn’t always pan out the way I‘m certain the band was attempting. but in the case of. I will say however upon my first listen of Pressure in awhile, as a whole the album is better and less generic that it has been given credit for.
Pressure is unmistakably more centered on a wider audience and Octane radio play than the bands previous material, the band has stated that themselves but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some skilled songwriting to be found here. There’s a reason multiple members of Wage War work as writers for other artists. Nowadays in the metalcore scene we seem to have a problem of every band who attempts to make a song or two that reaches a broader audience getting labeled as “butt-rock”. I don’t believe this term to be fitting of Wage War as I believe they’ve always been open, honest, and truthful about their intentions to be gatekeepers for heavier metal bands than them.
It seemed quickly lost on many fans after the release of this record that there are still some great heavy songs on Pressure. Lead vocalist Briton Bond shines all over the album with the most clean singing he’s ever done with the group and great energetic screams. Wether you like the bands direction or not there is no denying their talent as musicians, writers, and performers. Pressure may push the band further out to a mainstream audience but it still has hard hitting tracks that should please the day one fans.
One major fault I have to point out with this record is the track listing and flow. This was a very poor choice as far as the way the tracks were placed. The constant heavy, soft, switches can become a bit tiresome. It’s impossible for me to know whether this was a label or band choice so I will cut them some slack on it but it hurts the overall vibe of the album. I feel had the album had a better flow it would’ve been received a fair amount better by fans. That may be nitpicking to some but was a large drawback for me personally.
In all, Wage War was pretty unfairly sneered and jeered by many of their former fans for heading in a new direction. Who am I to say, maybe they should have stuck with their signature sound a bit longer to establish themselves more but I just can’t blame a band for exploring new destinations of its what they genuinely want to do and I feel Wage War is being truthful to their fan base. The band flashes what makes them special on Pressure but not quite as much as their previous two records. I’m not ready to turn on or give up on this band yet though. I see and hear the potential to be one of the bests modern heavy bands and I think there are some really great moments on Pressure. It’s getting a 3 out of 5 stars from us.