Wage War
Stigma


0.5

Review

by Tyler White STAFF
June 21st, 2024 | 145 replies


Release Date: 06/21/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Get me out of the swamp, please

Man, Wage War used to be fun. They were never really that great to begin with, but at least they had some fun songs that you could just throw on and mindlessly headbang to. Blueprints and Deadweight had their fair share of heavy hitters and anthemic rockers. Even their most recent outputs had the occasional hidden gem in the mediocre songwriting. So what happened? How did they fall so far to put out something like STIGMA?

Simply put, STIGMA is offensively bad. Everything that made Wage War even a little bit fun has disappeared, leaving nothing but the bones of predictable song formulas and empty lyrics. The entire album can be placed into three distinct categories: the attempted rippers, the passionless anthems of the past, and some weird category that doesn’t deserve its own title. But don’t be fooled by these categories here, nothing about the album cohesive and everything is disjointed.

We first have our attempted rippers. These are your tracks that say “yeah, we’re heavy, deal with it,” but lack any sort of character and quality. Opener “THE SHOW’S ABOUT TO START” introduces us to this category with its grainy vocal effects and basic two-step groove that punches as hard as a fly. This is clearly pandering to a live atmosphere, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that there is nothing of sustenance here. “SELF SACRIFICE” and “NAIL5” use electronic influence to give a dynamic that goes back and forth between boring “heavy” synths and energetic, or lack thereof, riffs that do nothing but try to win over fans of their heavy stuff. The only track that even does this category well is “TOMBSTONE” which does have an element of catchiness, yet loses all of its credibility with an exhausting and pointless concluding breakdown set up by a famous line from the classic movie of the same title. (It’s really sad they would use a line from one of the best movies out there for one of the worst albums.)

Next we have our passionless anthems of the past. Though Wage War is typically remembered for their fun, heavy hitters like “Stitch” and “The River,” they had the occasional success in making a melodic anthem. But what do you know? That success isn’t found here. I could sit here and go through “BLUR,” “MAGNETIC,” and the closer individually, but that would just be wasting time, so let me do you a favor. These songs follow the same formula: subtle verses, a poppy, “anthemic” chorus with the same vocal melodies, a catchy riff to keep the listener engaged, and the unfortunate shoe-horned breakdown to make it that Wage War heavy heavy. You know, it doesn’t sound so bad reading it back, but that’s the problem. On paper these could be nothing more than inoffensive tunes that get lost in the background. However, when that background has been painted so many times in their previous albums, it becomes offensive hearing the same thing over and over again. Sure, they are rock anthems, but how many times must an anthem be reiterated?

Lastly, we come to the category without a name. This is basically everything that Wage War attempted to experiment with on STIGMA, and boy is it a bad three song stretch toward the end. “HAPPY HUNTING” kicks off this category with a ripper– wait no, sorry, that’s supposed to say rip-off actually. If you’ve ever heard “Dragula” by Rob Zombie, then you’ve heard this one. This is nothing more than an embarrassing attempt at that dark groove style, and it goes absolutely nowhere. Even though it’s under three minutes in length, it feels like it goes on for an eternity. Next up, we have “HELLBENT,” which is the country metalcore anthem. Yeah you heard me, I didn’t misspell or anything like that. The opening moments of this track is filled with a country twang that just shouldn’t exist. This almost fit right in with the anthems of the past, but that country element just spiked it down into this category. Finally, we have the Florida Gator anthem “IN MY BLOOD.” Once again, I didn’t misspell or write the wrong thing here, this is basically a Florida Gator anthem and it has nothing that makes an anthem fun. With a line like “there’s a reason he’s in Georgia and not in the swamp,” you can’t help but sigh. Respect to Wage War for trying to experiment, but nothing here even works in the slightest.

I guess you could say I’m being too harsh, I’ve never been much of a Wage War fan. But STIGMA is the very definition of everything wrong with metalcore today. There is no fun to be found here, and everything is offensively bad. It doesn’t matter how hard they try to be heavy or anthemic, it simply doesn’t work. Make what you want of the album, but if you want to save yourself, stay out of the swamp.



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user ratings (68)
1.7
very poor


Comments:Add a Comment 
tyman128
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2024


4552 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

This is horrendous, can't believe I sat through this record

Pikazilla
June 21st 2024


30504 Comments


could say the same about everything this band's ever done tbh

SteakByrnes
June 21st 2024


30138 Comments


nice review brother, bet this is some pure trash

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2024


1877 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Very nice write up, Tyler. Can't help but agree with basically all the sentiments here. I thought it couldn't get any worse than the mundaneness of Pressure, but this record is in fact offensively bad with Magnetic really being that shining example. Why they released that as the first single, I will never understand.

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2024


4552 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

Don't blame you Pika

But yeah, the worst song here is all of them

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2024


19039 Comments


Cold, calculated, and brutal. Oh I was describing the review, not the album. Exemplary writing, my friend

Mort.
June 21st 2024


25859 Comments


let me guess theyre metalcore buttrock now?

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2024


4552 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

No you see, metalcore buttrock would only warrant a 1 at the lowest

Odal
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2024


2318 Comments


I heard Magnetic after a buddy tipped me off to it being particularly terrible, and it indeed was. You are brave than I for sitting through this. Awesome review

Mort.
June 21st 2024


25859 Comments


oh ok i will read the review like i sometimes pretend to

Mort.
June 21st 2024


25859 Comments


i read the review and its very good

and im listening to bits and pieces of this on youtube now and yeah, its metalcore buttrock + worse. holy shit. i never liked this band but this is dreadful. has that horrible artificial heaviness all these bands get from the production

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2024


4552 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

Appreciate it brothas

I still can't get over how bad everything here sounds

SteakByrnes
June 21st 2024


30138 Comments


yea these guys have always been pretty bad but I heard the first single from this when it dropped, and man that was dogshit lmao

JayEnder
June 21st 2024


20470 Comments


Band was never good

Purpl3Spartan
June 21st 2024


8792 Comments


You don’t know low like I do

JoyfulPlatypus
June 21st 2024


838 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Solid review. Listening to this now and yeah I'm not too impressed. I probably don't hate it as much as you do lol but I'm feeling it's gonna be in that 1.5 to 2 range.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2024


5555 Comments


you are so brave, thank you for this review
now meet me in the dark with a hole for a heart plz

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2024


4552 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

I’ll meet you there bb

And yeah, I know I’m probably overhating this, but I think it’s we’ll deserved

JoyfulPlatypus
June 21st 2024


838 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Don't get me wrong, just finished it myself and I agree with just about all your complaints lol this shit was boring and generic as hell.

JonWedge91
June 21st 2024


18 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I actually don’t think this one is that bad, it’s better than their last couple honestly. But you’re totally right about it being an example of what’s wrong with most mainstream metalcore of the last 15 years. So many great bands have fallen into the wasteland of metalcore-trying-to-be-pop.



The worst part about it is a lot of these bands are great live and tone down the electronic elements to a degree and play more raw, and most of them would be so much more enjoyable if they just sounded like that in the first place.



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