Published Aug 28, 2019Wage War are the latest in the trend of radio-metalcore acts bursting through the mainstream to success. Like I Prevail, Bad Omens and Northlane, Wage War have always gone for sheen over grit, polishing their metal base until it sounds like it's made for stadiums, not basements. With Pressure, though, they skips the 'core entirely and go straight for the pop metal charts.
Wage War have overshot. They've cranked up the Auto-Tune to Maroon 5 levels and removed the aggression in favour of an all-consuming angst rarely seen this side of MySpace. There are moments on Pressure that approach the greatness of 2017's Deadweight, like beatdown-heavy "Fury" and "Ghost," but for every one of those there is something like "Me Against Myself," "Forget My Name" and "Grave." Evolution is always to be encouraged, but when the chorus of "Hurt" croons in with, "It still hurts, it only ever seems to get worse" (one-upped moments later by "perfect on the outside, broken on the inside" in "The Line"), one struggles to remember that this is the band that wrote "Stitch." It's like Imagine Dragons busting out some old-school Hatebreed.
You can't fault Wage War for trying this; similar moves have worked wonders for Bring Me the Horizon and Bad Wolves. But a move this blatant after a monster of a record like Deadweight feels disingenuous. Pressure will undoubtedly be huge. The question of whether or not that's a good thing is open to debate. (Fearless)