Wovenwar – Honor is Dead

Being in a band can be hard. Finding other good people to play with, and finding time and space to practice are minimal issues compared to all the issues with playing live and making money if you are trying to be a pro. Being in a band and having bad things happen to you makes it even harder. You read about bands having van/bus accidents or their gear being stolen all the time. Some bands come back from such events, some do not. Therefore, when the metal world learned of the sordid tale of Tim Lambesis, now former front man of As I Lay Dying, no one expected them to recover. Instead, remaining members, guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso, drummer Jordan Mancino, and bassist/vocalist Josh Gilbert, forged on. They recruited Shane Blay of Oh, Sleeper, creating Wovenwar, and released one of the strongest debut albums to come out in some time. The follow-up to that debut is now upon us, as Honor Is Dead was released October 21, 2016, on Metal Blade Records.

One thing I appreciate about Honor Is Dead is that it immediately does not sound like As I Lay Dying with clean vocals. Listening to the debut after a few spins of Honor Is Dead makes this much more apparent. The album comes at you with three to four minute spurts of emotional baggage. Just like that crazy ex-girlfriend, you’re not really sure which direction each song is going to go. Will she be angry (“Confession,” “Censorship,” “Stones Thrown,” and “Cascade”), sad (“Compass” and “Silhouette”) or indifferent (“Honor is Dead,” “Lines in the Sand,” and “World on Fire”).  Either way, it’s going to be a bumpy ride and you’d better be prepared. Blay’s aggressive yet emotional vocals are very well suited for this application, and add an obvious dimension the previous band never had. Hipa and Sgrosso’s riffs are heavier than ever, but only when necessary. In addition, the multiple variations in song structure of Honor Is Dead show Mancino’s talent has matured behind the kit.

Wovenwar’s short career has been one of unexpecteds. Not only was the band’s existence and subsequent debut album unexpected, but its follow up has a sound that is unexpected as well. Wovenwar’s progression from album to album is not only surprising, but also a little disappointing. I was hopeful that they would fully grow out of the AILD shadow, I just didn’t expect them to go in the same direction as so many other bands: radio friendly melodicore. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as Wovenwar do it better than many other bands. It just makes me wonder why this was their chosen change of direction. It also makes me wonder which way they will turn next.

Track List:

  1. Confession
  2. Censorship
  3. Honor Is Dead
  4. Lines in the Sand
  5. World on Fire
  6. Compass
  7. Stones Thrown
  8. Cascade
  9. Silhouette
  10. Bloodletter
  11. 130

Playing Time: 38:44

Release date: October 21, 2016

Label: Metal Blade

Website: wovenwar.com

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