War of Ages (formerly known as Point Zero) have continually progressed with every brush stroke from the palette they have been blessed with, and choose to use as an expression of who they are as a band.
“Return to Life” album might have been a bump in the road of that expression, but still found a band in their moment of creative growth in a genre of music that is fat with artists, and very often has that bloated and congested feel.
The band is evolving, and on “Supreme Chaos”, Their sixth studio release has their palette of creativity broadened to bring a wider expression of the sound that we are familiar with from them. For me it’s leaped frogged “Return to Life” in terms of growth, and stands as a more relevant successor to the “Eternal” album. From the great production to the powerful music, “Supreme Chaos” is a spiritually poignant and relevant release that attempts to re-set the scales on the genre. Its exuberant and fresh….okay, let’s take it back a notch as I am running ahead of myself here…….
Normally I am not fan of electronic use in heavy music, as I prefer the heaviness of the guitars raw and blatant to carry the weight, intensity and velocity of a song. But the electronic use in, “From Ashes” works well in enhancing the overall strength and volume of the song, and shows a band not scared to carry a new wineskin for a greater volume of artistic growth. Look they still have many of the familiar attributes related to the genre, like the clean vocal parts, and the song does bring some familiarity of other like sounding bands, i.e.: Becoming the Archetype.
The one thing that I wish Metal-core bands could change is the over use of clean vocals. I love the aggression of the raw in your face vocals almost always, and find the clean vocals cut into the intensity of the song. Its something I have personally struggled with when it comes to the genre, and the over-population of it, leaving very little space for those bands that should stand as examples, to actually come to the frontlines of the genre.
War of Ages succeed well with the aggressive vocals almost always, and carry allot of the intensity of the songs. There’s is a great marriage between the heavier vocals and the guitars, the only criticism I would take hold is that the vocals don’t hold much in terms of variety, but what they do give compliments the sound.
Metal-core is filled with two cliché’s, breakdowns and the over use of clean vocalizations in their choruses. At least they avoid to a large extent the over use of break downs. There is a lot of crunchy guitar work throughout that many are familiar with from them, and with the added electronics in the mix, I think has benefited the album in large in giving the band a broader stroke to paint with. A song like “On Broken Wings” is a very good example of this.
The charge begins with “Chaos Theory” with its overall more aggressive appeal, something that all War of Ages fans will love, for this I am sure, the chorus and structures of the songs fit well together. This intensity overlaps with the supercharged, nitrous fueled “LionHeart”, which in all respects for me, is the backbone of the entire album. It’s the pinnacle point, and captivates a lot of the heart and strength of the band. The rhythm section is strong and a show a strength of force on this track. It’s a song where the band really comes together as a unit, and indents into my mind a redemptive value of the genre, that is often stuck in horrible cliché’s.
“Renegade” is another song I like with just enough clean vocalization in it, the Metal-core cliché’s kept to a minimum. It has a militant feel to it. The backing vocals work well here too. Some nice drum fills without overpowering the song, and some nice full tilt assault guitar driven parts. All together making this song a winner.Also we find some great lead guitar solo work on here that add character and strength to the song.
In closing I like that this band is not just musically apt, but unafraid of embracing Christian themes in their music and doing it passionately. There is every now and then a trend in Christian bands to down play their faith, and I love it when bands wear their faith on their sleeves, both in their music and lifestyle. War Of Ages come across as the real deal here on this album, which solidifies the strength and relevance of this album even more.
This album in many ways crushes the previous release. Look its very hard for me to find a metal-core band that stands out, they tend to embrace all the same cliché’s of the genre and often over indulge with them in a sort of protest or refusal to go beyond. This leaves a genre where many bands sound similar, leaving very little imagination in the songs. I found that on this album, “Supreme Chaos”, War of Ages break out a little from the cliché’s and risk a bit, and it is that risk, if you want to call it that, which benefits the band well. It is a good thing in that it has truly positioned them in my opinion for further growth going forward. It’s a subtle move, one that won’t scare current fans away either, yet in a way they are not towing the line of the genre. It’s great seeing bands mature and branch out from the normality’s, especially when done well. Yes they have done well here with his release. In many ways the album adds fresh oxygen to the genre. After the previous release where one might have felt the band possibly losing some steam, on here it’s like they prepared for war, and got themselves buffed up for an explosive charge of musical revitalization and passion.
It certainly deserves praise as an album, and I do find it a courageous attempt in trying to step out from under the over weightiness of the genre. In the face of how boring the genre has become, it’s great to see an album that sparks light and hope on the genre. This album is a step in the right direction for War of Ages in more ways than one, and the albums appeal should include both old fans and newcomers to the music of War of Ages. “Supreme Chaos” is an album that clearly sets the charge of the future of metal-core, and displays a willingness to grow into the footprint they have now cast. If they can keep it together, they are certainly one of the bands we should be watching going into the future. “Supreme Chaos”, is an awesome discharge of passion infused, faith fueled metal explosiveness.
Review by Donovan de Necker
1. From Ashes
2. Lost in Apathy
4. Chaos Theory
6. On Broken Wings
7. Amber Alert
10. Still Small Voice
Leroy Hamp – Vocals
Steve Brown – Guitar
Jack Daniels – Guitar
Elisha Mullins – Bass
Alex Hamp – Drums
“Unite Us All” – 2004
“War of Ages” – 2005
“Pride of the Wicked” – 2006
“Fire from the Tomb” – 2007 [Re-release and re-recording of the self titled album]
“Arise and Conquer” – 2008
“Eternal” – 2010
“Return to Life” – 2012 [review]
Record Label: Facedown Records, Aug. 2014
Video below ‘From Ashes’
Video below ‘Chaos Theory’