Atreyu‘s Alex Varkatzas and Bleeding Through‘s Brandan Schieppati (both vocalists of their respective bands) have teamed up to form an angry little two-piece called I Am War. Alex described the music as “brutal, heavy, short, fast blasts of metallic hardcore punk” which, to me, sounds like they have created a gun which fires metal songs. Bear in mind that they are both from respectable metal bands, I Am War has potential to be something great and revolutionary, right? Well, no, not really, because super groups rarely work and often churn out mediocre songs with high production values. Sadly, I Am War is just that.
‘Outlive You All’ is 26 minutes of Alex screaming, Brandan playing the same riff and not much else, though admittedly, it’s good to hear Alex screaming again considering Atreyu have been in hiatus for more than a year now. It seems that both guys see this side-project as an outlet for all their pent up rage and anger and while yes, it is very dark and heavy, it’s not all that great. I can’t help but compare it to their other work and I find myself disappointed knowing that they’re capable of so much more.
This album is essentially copy and paste and copy and paste and copy and paste and copy and paste and copy and paste (if they can do it, why can’t I?). There are 13 songs on here and they are all indistinguishable from one another. I listened to this in order and then on shuffle and it sounded identical, though this could be to the fact that they’re both vocalists and are used to working within the constraints of a band. However, given the fact that they both share a butt load of experience, they don’t really have any excuse.
The vocals are not really an issue here, though the gang vocals get a little cheap at times, it’s the guitaring that is the biggest let down. Down-tuned, tremolo, palm-muted riffs are a key feature of any metal track, BUT it is still a feature and not the sole content of it. There are no solos and no breakdowns; just the endless chugging of Brandan‘s fret work (or lack of). Should they choose to do a live show, I fail to see how any guitarist’s wrist could survive the set without a serious sprain or strain. There’s little to no deviation from the riffs you would find with Bleeding Through and, frankly, that’s just plain lazy.
So, there you have it, something that could have been incredible and bold just turned out to be disappointing and annoying. It’s like the Star Wars prequels all over again. Had the artists involved not done anything prior to this, then I probably would have given this a much better score, but taking into account they have had more than 25 albums between them, I am being a harsh marker.
Go and listen to Bleeding Through‘s track ‘Germany’ (here). If you like that, then listen to I Am War. It’s essentially the same thing, just not as good.
Written by Andy Roberts