Review Summary: Don't hide behind your weakness...
Formed in Pennsylvania, metalcore act War of Ages have put out some decent albums, but none as aggressive or consistent as 2008's "Arise and Conquer". Showing an improvement in everything from the vocals to the drumming, this album was War of Ages at the top of their game. Another aspect that makes the listen more enjoyable is absence of needless breakdowns. That's not to say there aren't any but they are carefully spread throughout the album, making them more effective. There are also a generous amount of guitar solos, which is nice considering they seem to be a lost art in the world of todays metalcore bands.
The album starts out great with the head banger 'All Consuming Fire' which is a definite highlight. Vocalist "Leroy Hamp" sounds more confident in his voice than in past efforts and the song contains everything a metal song needs with its rapid drums, guitar solo, and breakdowns. 'Salvation' is also a great track that wastes no times as we are presented with a face-melting solo at just 13 seconds into the song. In it Hamp screams, "Don't hide behind your weakness" and "How selfish are we in the eyes of God?". For those who don't believe in God or are offended by Christian lyrics, it might be best to avoid this, but for everyone else the upfront lyrics help make the album more intense. The albums closer 'The Deception of Strongholds' is another standout and it is surprisingly melodic.
"Arise and Conquer" is a prime example of a metalcore band doing everything right. Containing no clean vocals other than the spoken sections, the energetic album is everything it needs to be. At times it's very aggressive and thought provoking, and sometimes it's catchy and melodic, but always executed well. It's a shame the band started adding clean vocals after this album because they had lots of potential and it really shows on this release. It's not groundbreaking but it's much better than the barrage of metalcore bands making music today. If your a fan of the genre and you haven't heard this band this album is definitely the place to start.
All Consuming Fire
The Deception of Strongholds