Review Summary: Plain and simply plain and simple.
I’m really unsure where to begin with this review. There’s a lot of issues with this record. If you aren’t familiar with Wage War, they’re a metalcore band signed to Fearless Records. This is their third album, and their clear attempt to grab a wider audience. Unfortunately they have fallen victim to the trend of metalcore bands scrounging for a spot on SiriusXM Octane’s “Big ‘Uns” countdown (their version of the top songs of the week). Most late 2000s/early 2010s Warped Core bands have strayed to this career ending demise, but no one expected it from Wage War so early on in their career. Especially with the lead single, “Low,” being such a fantastic song. Unfortunately, with every new single that came out, the fan base grew less and less hopeful for Pressure
. Track one, “Who I Am,” was the single that brought the album announcement, and while still being a pretty good metalcore song, signaled the lyrical mediocrity that was to come on the rest of the album.
I’m sure that the guys in the band didn’t mean
to write the most painfully average and boring lyrics that could possibly be in a metalcore song in 2019, but they did. There doesn’t seem to be any heart behind what this band is doing anymore. Gone is the pure rage of “Stitch” or “The River.” Two songs which were the jumpstart for many people to love this band in the first place. Of course, there are heavy songs and parts of this album, but nothing matches the raw emotion that the band had on the last two albums. The only thing that could even come close is the aforementioned “Low.” This song doesn’t even sound like it was written in the same time frame that the rest of the songs were (and honestly it probably wasn’t since it came out way before the album was even announced). “Low” has a fantastic riff, a soaring chorus beautifully sung by Cody Quistad (who really does shine on the rest of this album as far as chops go), and multiple breakdowns that are splendidly executed as per usual with Wage War.
The biggest problem with this Pressure
is the songwriting. It is plain and simply plain and simple. There is nothing exciting about most of this album. There are things worth listening to it for, but for the most part you’re going to find generic “hope-core” lyrics and uninspired songwriting. If you’re looking for something simple and easy to listen to as far as metal and radio rock/metal goes, this might be the album for you. But for anyone who doesn’t want to hear gang vocal “whoa”s and “hey”s in metalcore in 2019 should probably avoid it altogether. It is not a terrible album by any means, but Wage War were never the most innovative and refreshing band in the metalcore scene. In fact they weren’t really innovative or refreshing at all, but they did what they did really well and this is proof that they should have stuck to what they knew how to do. Frankly, Pressure
probably serves as a bad omen for future Wage War projects.