Wovenwar – Honor Is Dead (Metal Blade)

Friday, 30th September 2016
Rating: 5/10

Establishing a new act out of the As I Lay Dying turmoil (investigate online if necessary), Wovenwar are back again following a self-titled debut in 2014 that may have gained appeal on commercial hard rock/ metal stations but did little to light a fire in my aural wheelhouse. Now gaining two years together on the live front, Honor Is Dead should inherently showcase strength and proper potential to develop their own footing in a very crowded scene. An amalgamation of nu-metal, metalcore, and alternative oriented modern hard rock employing everything from clean to screaming vocals, low tuned bass, snappy snare-oriented grooves, plus the riff overdrive that lends itself to breakdowns, these 11 songs aptly illustrate the faceless nature of what’s being taken in – nothing distinctive or original in approach or execution.

Djent-oriented sweeps, distant megaphone-like contrast vocals, and nu-metal bass against the main grunge yowl meets emo-oriented verses- and this all appears on the title cut three songs in. The back and forth low-chugging during “Stones Thrown” allows drummer Jordan Mancino a chance to be a little creative in some of his propulsive groove choices, but the predictable squeals and bounce norms plus good cop/bad cop vocals kill any forward momentum. Guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso can be very entertaining when filling the sonic landscape in quieter spaces – as “Silhouette” contains a building, atmospheric vibe that makes this probably the best track on offer, almost Pink Floyd-ish during some of the transitions that along with Shane Blay’s passionate delivery could be something Wovenwar expands upon down the line.

Those who frequent Hot Topic stores and can’t wait to read about the favorites from the latest issue of Revolver magazine are the demographic targets for Wovenwar. Honor Is Dead gets its mission accomplished succinctly, but won’t gain much return engagement because of its clear ‘commercial’ orientations. ‘I call it a phase’ is a refrain in “Confession” worth taking into consideration before buying into this camp.

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