ALBUM REVIEW: Wage War – Pressure

Release Date: August 30th 2019
Label: Fearless Records


When asked about their third record, Wage War ruminated on the decisions made upon making a record affecting the next few years of a career.

Taking this concept on board, ‘Pressure’ sees the quintet refining their existing qualities and harnessing new strengths to create a record to propel them to new heights.

Opening with lurching riffs and urgent melodies, ‘Who I Am’ showcases the heavier side of the group, with guttural lows and double kick patterns navigating stop-start riffs and grooves. Utilising their inherent knack for melody, the chorus opens up the solid vocals of guitarist Cody Quistad to drive the hook home.

Building on the blueprint they’ve set out already, ‘Prison’ delivers crushing riffs and smooth choruses, whilst highlighting frontman Briton Bond‘s breakneck delivery amidst jarring guitars and gang vocals. Bond‘s range is expanded with ‘Grave’, working within his clean register instead of his growls, proving a comfort in both styles.

After delving headfirst into melody and hook heavy tracks, ‘Ghost’ jumps into melodic hardcore territory. Wrapped in chugging guitars and snapping vocals, the track brings guitarist Seth Blake‘s soloing skills to the forefront, alongside Stephen Kluesener moving between blast beats and half-time rhythms to drive the track home.

Whilst the group could rest upon their existing style to carry the record, ‘Hurt’ moves towards a slower pace. Relying on Bond and Quistad to continue momentum, the track stays streamlined and avoids a sluggish runtime to not only show a new layer to the group, but ensures the record doesn’t become incoherent.

The experimentation continues with ‘The Line’, which takes influences from both groove metal and new wave. With solid vocal hooks and gritty inflections courtesy of Bond, the song maintains a solid foot in the group’s identity whilst also carving new avenues for them.

Concluding with ‘Will We Ever Learn’, winding melodies and juddering rhythms cut through harmonised vocals and restrained ambience. Showcasing new facets to their sound whilst injecting moments of thundering breakdowns, Wage War wrap up ‘Pressure’ leaving no stone unturned.

Filled to the brim with riffs, hooks, and crushing breakdowns, ‘Pressure’ pushes Wage War further than before to stunning results. Determined and streamlined, the record stands out from numerous releases from the band’s contemporaries. With a make or break mentality behind them, ‘Pressure’ could well be the record that thrusts Wage War further into the spotlight.

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