Florida natives Wage War are one of Fearless Records’ newest additions to the label, bringing a refreshing sound to the tried and true sound of bands such as August Burns Red and ERRA. The band recorded the album with producer Andrew Wade (Neck Deep, The Word Alive, The Ghost Inside) and Jeremy McKinnon, frontman of A Day to Remember.
Blueprints was released on November 27th, 2015 via Fearless Records, being the first record that the band has put out. Prior to its release, Wage War released a total of three singles. Their first single, Alive, was accompanied by a music video that shows what WW is capable of in a live setting and how crazy the crowd gets to their music, and for good reason.
Alive is a rhythmically pleasing anthem that makes you want to get off your feet. The riffs are very bouncy and heavy, which is complemented gracefully by the powerful vocals. Alive was a great choice as the first single, since it gives off the vibe the record has in its entirety.
The record starts off with sirens ringing along with dissonant sounding guitars. It sets an eerie and brutal mood that is then greeted with monstrous sounding vocals. Hollow is a great intro into the depths that are Blueprints.
Twenty One was the second music video that Wage War put out prior to the record’s release. Twenty One is a song that relates directly to us as humans. It describes how we are all the same underneath. It is a beautiful message that is portrayed gracefully in the band’s musicianship and great vocal hooks.
The title track of the record, Blueprints, has a cool chorus that features vocalists Briton Bond and Cody Quistad going back and forth between vocal lines. It is one of the most creative choruses on the record, as well as one of the more interesting verses that switch from eerie clean guitars to shreddy guitar solos in a heartbeat.
Youngblood is a song that the band had dedicated to a young man named Louis Pulford, who ended his life at a young age in Ocala, FL. It is a very powerful song filled with real, raw emotion. More information in regard to the songs backstory can be found here.
This one is for those who love the heavier side of the genre. The River has various riffs that are a cyclone of bends and eerie sounding leads. Not to mention the massive breakdowns that the song has, which are really cool. Fun fact – you can hear the laughter of a child right before one of the breakdowns. It’s great.
At this point of the record, I felt that the songs were not hitting as hard. Dreadlocked was one of the weaker tracks on the record, and although Enemy had cool turn table scratching over the intro riff, it didn’t cut it as much for me either. Spineless was pretty interesting and was reminiscent to the heavier side of the band, and was an enjoyable track, but not as memorable as Alive and The River. Their guitar work is very technical and fun to listen to, but Basic Hate was another track that did not cut it for me.
To top it all off, the album ends with Desperate, a track that showcases the band’s excellent blend of technicality and catchy vocal hooks. Desperate is an excellent closing track that ties the whole record together as a whole. Overall, this was a very strong debut in a genre that is very difficult to shine through as new and refreshing. Wage War has plenty of potential and I would definitely recommend this record to fans of the genre.
Final score: 8/10
Highlight tracks: Alive, The River, Desperate.
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