Metalcore is definitely a genre that is now suffering immensely from diminishing returns. Even the most accomplished of metalcore bands has to really try hard to stand out now, not just because there are already so many of their peers playing music that all sounds very similar, but because pretty much everything in the genre has been tried, tested, done and re-done to within an inch of its life now. However, occasionally a band does come through that manages to make eyebrows raise towards the genre once more; in Britain we have Bury Tomorrow; In Ocala, Florida they have Wage War.
Deadweight is a very promising second album from these guys. They’ve managed to engineer a really great balance of heaviness and clean vocal sections, in that there’s more of the heavy and less of the not heavy, but the clean vocal choruses don’t feel tacked on, they feel more like an extension of the music that isn’t used as often. They do occasionally come in at what feels like strange points – see ‘Southbound‘ – but the quality of transition isn’t always bad, only occasionally.
Speaking of Bury Tomorrow, Wage War have a similar understanding of the necessary balance of melody and crushing heaviness, and similarly make metalcore that, while nothing necessarily groundbreaking, is nonetheless well crafted.
Some more of the strange, quirky additions in the vein of the opening to ‘Stitch‘ (almost the best song on the album were it not for the title track) would be more welcome. A whole album of just that might be getting in to boring Motionless In White territory, but thrown in a little more into an album that otherwise doesn’t stray too far out of the norm would be the little boost of quality that this album needs to boost it into “really good” territory.
Wage War aren’t quite the finished article on Deadweight, but they are getting there. With a few more interesting ideas added in, a little less sticking to what feels like “safe” metalcore tropes, and definitely much less of the “all the instruments cut out and it’s just the vocals then all the instruments crash back in” way of introducing a riff or breakdown, Wage War could have something truly great going on.