Album Review – Pressure by Wage War (Fearless Records)

Floridian metalcore mob, Wage War, have released their third full length album called Pressure.

Pressure was released on the 30th of August via Fearless Records. It follows their 2017 release, Deadweight and their impressive debut, 2015’s Blueprints. Prior to that album, Wage War went under the name Empires. Wage War are a five piece with 3 of the original founding members still being in the band. Those founders are Briton Bond on vocals, Seth Blake and lead guitar and backing vocals and Cody Quistad on rhythm guitar and clean vocals. Joining them for the name change is Chris Gaylord on bass and backing vocals and Stephen Kluesener on the drums.

Our first taste of new music from Wage War came with the single, Who I Am. You can read our thoughts on that here and see us react to it on YouTube, here. It’s a solid slab of metalcore. Not quite ground-breaking but also very listenable.

Pressure Wage War

Pressure is 12 tracks long weighing in at around 42 minutes long. It opens with that lead single, Who I Am. Like I said above, it’s a really good song while simultaneously being very typical of metalcore. That line really sums up the majority of the album. It’s a strong metalcore release but at the same time, if you to design a metalcore album by the numbers this is pretty close to what you would get to.

There is a lot of mixed vocals on here with some songs leaning heavily on uncleans and others leaning heavily on the clean vocals. It’s probably no surprise but I found myself enjoying the songs that were shouted or mixed over the mainly clean ones. Who I Am gets the balance right for me with vicious verses and clean choruses blended nicely. Ghost is another one I really like with a good mix of vocal styles a punchy riff and some seriously impressive drumming. Low is an absolute banger. The vocal styles mix well and the heavier ones really go for it. I love the transitions between breakdowns and deathcore blasts into more melodic choruses and guitars.

The Line surprised me with a short intro that gets a little too dance like for me but persevere with it and you get one of the more creative tracks on the album. It has a fantastic chorus and a really cool riff alongside some fresh ideas. Fury brings the drums to the front with some wicked blasts and a bassy riff. As per the name it’s a heavy one designed to pummel with speed and precision in the verses leading to a deathly roar of “I Am the Fury” before a slamming chorus. It’s a great track. Take the Fight is another banger with a brilliant chorus and brutal verses seamlessly blended. The melodic guitars in the chorus are perfect and the gang vocal styled shouts add loads to the overall song.

Around these heavier tracks we also get a load of cleaner, more emotional tracks. All have merit and are very strong lyrically, I just prefer the heavier sound. Grave has a catchy rhythm to it and a good chorus. Me Against Myself kind of feels a bit like a pop punk song but has good lyrics. Hurt is a nicely sung, emotional ballad about, well, being hurt. The album closes on another called Will We Ever Learn. It has an echoed, dreamlike start. It grows to a cleanly sung verse and chorus with strong guitar melody and a thick bass line. The chorus is good and the bridge between chorus and verse is filled with a punchy and heavy riffing section which is welcomed as are the backing growls that grow into the song.

Pressure is a good album if you don’t adore metalcore, and feels like it would be an instant classic for those who love the genre. There is a lot of good metal on show for everyone though with some excellent music. Strong riffs, solid bass hits and punchy drum blasts hit you over the heavier parts with nice guitar melodies tugging at your heartstrings on the softer songs. Both the clean and unclean vocals are great. There is always a fear with me that the clean singer off setting the uncleans will be too whiny but that isn’t the case here.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of metalcore when it’s done well, and this is exactly that. Mostly stereotypical stuff but done well. There are a couple absolutely brilliant songs on here too though with Who I Am, Fury and Low being personal favourites. Then there are a collection of very good songs like Ghost, Prison and Me Against Myself. All together, Pressure is well worth checking out for fans of the genre, mainly, but I think there is enough to maybe satisfy those who normally avoid metalcore too.

Pressure is available now on all the usual streaming platforms. You can also grab a physical copy from Wage War here.

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Pressure by Wage War (Fearless Records)
  • 8/10
    The Final Score - 8/10
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