Wovenwar – Wovenwar (Metal Blade)Sunday, 27th July 2014
While As I Lay Dying remains in a holding pattern following the prison sentence of vocalist Tim Lambesis, the four other members create this new act Wovenwar, grabbing new vocalist Shane Blay whose previous notoriety involves his work in Texas Christian metalcore’s Oh, Sleeper. Given their previous band’s known penchant for Christianity-oriented metalcore, the bar isn’t set very high on breaking the mold, and the 13 songs present (discounting the 1:40 “Foreword” intro and 1:34 “Onward” outro) unleash all the obvious modern metalcore/groove/melodic breakdowns that appeal to commercial toe-tippers and unimaginative followers.
Shane’s voice is smooth in a modern rock manner, pushing all the right trailing notes and doubling up harmonies to carry hooks for “Tempest” and the Trivium-like “All Rise.” Throughout you get the feeling that Wovenwar just look at the best metalcore through history (Killswitch Engage breakdowns, All That Remains sense of melody, the right amount of shred factor in the lead breaks to keep things remotely ‘metal’) and drive them into the ground. You get the modern rhythmic template for “The Mason,” the emotional ballad filled with U2-echo electric riffing and arena rock background tricks on “Father Son,” and general uplifting mid-tempo crunchiness that gets crowd surfing and walls of death aplenty for “Archers.”
Wovenwar produce the type of music that when I talk to a younger teenager on the street, they believe this is what metal is all about. To my ears this is very safe, calculated, and devoid of originality. I don’t mind certain hybrids in terms of sub-genres (melodic death metal, progressive doom metal, the right symphonic power metal), but I’ve never understood the appeal of fusing one purpose breakdowns and good cop/bad cop vocals into the metal philosophy.
If you desire a more watered down, rock radio ready version of As I Lay Dying, Wovenwar will fuse seamlessly into your audio archives. Not for me though…