In 2015 American Metal band Wage War, formerly Empires, released their first album Blueprints. Hailing from Ocala, Florida, they are the most promising American metalcore act I’ve yet to hear. Metalcore being mostly dominated by Aussie and UK giants such as Bring Me The Horizon, In Hearts Wake, The Amity Affliction and many others, it’s hard to find American acts that really stick out in today’s metalcore scene. Wage War brings a clean, new, and heavy sound to the scene. Bearing the typical really clean to really heavy vocal arrangement of the genre, they stop there at being a cliche. Djent guitar is mostly absent, drums are unique and the songs actually have musically different sounds to them. If they maintain the same skill in song writing and performance Wage War will have a long future ahead of them.
Twenty One is the most well known song from the group. Bearing a very distinct resemblance to Amity Affliction, of whom they currently are touring with, it’s no wonder why it has grown such a following. Twenty One has several key changes throughout keeping the sound fresh. The lyrics tell a story of a man who is lost. Not feeling at home anywhere. The closing lines of “I've come to grips with the fact that I'll never be able to change my own past, But I've found strength in divine perspective. It took me twenty one years to realize Hope, Love, and Faith are how we survive. Grace sustains me” send chills down my spine. It’s rare to relate so well to a song, Wage War in their writing is as raw as can be emotionally so it feels genuine to hear them sing those lines.
Alive is, in my opinion, the most badass song on the album. Incomparable to most metalcore songs it feels like hearing a whole new kind of music. Death metal, Grindcore and standard metal influences throughout makes Alive feel actually unique. Complex guitar work that sounds more like Slayer or Anthrax than a metalcore band, drums that have distinct skill behind them and bass guitar that you can actually hear makes it by far the most innovative and tight metalcore song I’ve ever heard. The song sends a message of revolution, of what kind is not said, but it’s phrased in a general sort of way. A message of stand up and fight the injustice the world faces, all the injustice, not just a specific kind. Rather eloquently said, the closing lyrics are “I'd rather spend my life believing there's hope. Than be obsessed with how to tie the end of my rope.” Saying how instead of accepting were fucked, he’d rather believe in change, that it is possible if we try.
The River is an all around hardcore song that is deserving of more attention. Bearing a more Hardcore/death metal sound, it is not a song for those who don’t have a love for the heavier side of metal, face melting vocals, brutal guitar, slamming bass, drums from hell and only one small key change make The River the heaviest song on the album. It sends a clear message to the listener that the song is about the writer being dumped, hating himself for her leaving, but when she decided to come back to him he has a simple message to send to her: “I hope you choke on the words I was lead to believe. Like a puppet on your strings, control means everything and in my heart I want to forgive you. That doesn't mean I'll forget, you'll always be my regret.” He says what most of us don’t have the balls to say to our exes that we once loved.
You can go see Wage War on Warped Tour for a few more days. Or after that, on their world tour with Amity Affliction, for tour dates you can head on over to Wage War's official website, or the official Vans Warped tour site for the remainder of the Warped tour dates!
Written by Coby Andrews
All reviews have the date they were written, the album title, and the band's name, with the exception of Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace and Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamin. Those dates were guessed at, as they were written well before the website began.