WovenewarFormed from the ashes of As I Lay Dying after singer Tim Lambesis’ incarceration for ordering a hit on his wife (sadly not for making terrible music!), the remaining members of the band regrouped with a new vocalist to continue making music. Instead of keeping the former name, they adopted a new moniker and set about starting over. Let’s see if the new start is just what the band needed.

A typical metalcore album opening track “Foreward” starts the album. The piano sample over synths aimed to build the atmosphere which is joined by drums and the band whilst the vocals are kept low in the mix to build suspense. This then transitions into “All Rise”. Starting off with a steady intro, it quickly picks up pace into a fast flowing guitar solo before the clean, melodic singing follows. The vocals work well compared to the usual metalcore stylings where they try and add attitude to their tone, and it pays off. “Death to Rights” is more frantic than the previous track and it has a good groove to it, mostly provided by the drums. Vocally it’s just like the last track and in the chorus sections it’s got that big moment feel. The riffs are tricky and the lead work isn’t too shabby, but it’s not that different from the previous track. “Tempest” is up next and it stands out. Pounding bass and drums, thick sounding guitars and clean singing work well, especially in the bass-friendly verses. The song actually sounds like its heading somewhere and the melody is brilliant. “The Mason” has an interesting intro and a slightly djent-ish feel to it. The lyrics actually get growled at some points in this one too, but aside from that, there is nothing of note about this track.

“Moving Up” could be thought of as a statement of intent from the band given their circumstances. It’s got a lively start to it and the lyrics are sang with some emotion behind them. The chorus is decent enough but the verses are where the song stands out with the precise muted riffs. The breakdown near the middle has that typical ‘faint vocals’ thing most metalcore does before it kicks in with backing vocals and more volume, but apart from that, and a decent solo it’s another case of same old. “Sight of Shore” starts with samples before an upbeat lead section brings the song and the band in. The song has a bit of a spark to it, much like ‘Tempest’ with the song switching from technical riffs to straight up power chord chugging at will, keeping with the feel and melody of the song. It’s a good effort and one of the better tracks on the album. “Father/Son” starts off clean with a simple guitar lick and synths backing it. The vocals are sang with feeling, softly at first but about halfway through, the song gets bigger with backing chant vocals, synths and tricky guitar parts. “Profane” suddenly picks up with a cascading drum roll and distorted guitars playing harmony lines to start with and it continues with the faster pace. The chorus has some gang-shouts for backing vocals and it works well, but the song despite showing promise just doesn’t have the kick it needs to stand out enough.

“Archers” on the other hand does. Its bright start with melodic leads into fast paced riffs over a steady groove gets you from the off. The vocals are still the same as the rest of the album, but the lead work is fantastic. It keeps your attention and the vocals in the chorus compliments it well. This is one of the good moments of the album. “Ruined Ends” comes off the back of the stronger previous track and despite a decent feel to it, it just doesn’t match up. The vocal style suits this song perfectly with its slightly softer approach musically, and the chorus parts are decent enough, but it’s had a tough song before it to follow. “Identity” has that typical metalcore edge and feel to it. Nothing really special or interesting to say about it and “Matter of Time” which follows keeps up the generic feel. It’s got a few impressive riffs and more bite to it, but it’s still just a bland metalcore track. “Prophets” is the second to last track of the album. It starts off with an acoustic section which works great with the singing styled vocals which heavily feature on the album and it leads into the distorted section of the song with some synth and samples helping it along. The guitar riff along with the rhythm section brings a big groove which is something which has been lacking in most of the album, which is a shame because this is up there with ‘Tempest’ and Archers’ for the best moments of the album. Rounding the album off is “Onward” which is pretty similar to the opening track. The piano line over some feedback and samples closes the album in the same manner which it began – a generic metalcore effort.

Overall, unless you really liked As I Lay Dying, this album isn’t anything special. It’s good for a debut in parts, but it’s quite lacking. If they had put this album out a few years ago, it might have been received better. As background listening goes, it’s good enough, but nothing too spectacular.

(5/10 Fraggle)