Review: War of Ages – Eternal

Artist: War of Ages
Album: Eternal
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Facedown

Christian metallers, War of Ages have essentially become a specialist in the stratagems of the metalcore style. They have been admired for their grueling tour ethics along with their dedicated convictions. Their fourth full length album, Eternal is an indisputably credible offering that continues delivering all the aspects that garnered their previous albums a wide fan base. Although it will easily uphold the interests of genre fans, it neglects to stray from the formula War of Ages has been lingering closely to for the last several releases. They have merely focused their attentions of performing the fundamentals forcibly without ever extending into new territory.

Opener “Collapse,” starts by offering a glimpse of a newly renovated route but after their extremely catchy clean singing and melodic bars they trail to a familiar approach. Their amplified melodic sections and more prominent use of clean vocals are the only distinguishing traits that Eternal carries over its predecessors. Apart from those attributes, War of Ages abides by their customary arrangement of galloping duel harmonies and wailing solos combined with an overall mosh-pit rage. Their commendable technical guitar work continues to be an eminent factor of the album. “Failure” and “Your Betrayal,” exemplifies a foundation built by an intense double bass attack and thick chugging.

Leroy Hamp’s impassioned and harsh battle cries remain in the same template as he has offered previously. The new addition of clean vocals add much needed depth and create most of the memorable parts, including the soaring chorus on “Failure.” Their uncompromising faithful lyrics recapitulate to solidify their overall message of remaining strong through treacherous adversities. An example is the spiritually proclaiming and heartfelt line, “Fight the pain of deception, we are not alone. I can always count on you, you’ve carried me though my life,” found on “Desire.”

Title track, “Eternal,” proves War of Ages still have a few tricks up their sleeves and aren’t completely lacking variation. Frontman Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. delivers a surprising appearance by including rapcore sections that save the otherwise cantering pace of repetitious material.  His contribution was an admirable risk that completely paid off. Another standout track is the closer, “Instrumental.” Like the name states it is an instrumental piece and unlike most, this isn’t just a filler. This track offers a dynamic and subtle side of War of Ages that has never been discovered. Dueling guitars builds the footing with a beautiful, clean acoustic guitar underlying light electric guitar picking. The pair trade off lead roles before giving way to an ascending drum line. This track displays their raw ability and created an unexpectedly dramatic yet beautiful finale.

Eternal delivers the intensity and aggression that fans have come to respect while maintaining technical proficiency and a spiritually devoted demeanor. However, aside from a few memorable moments and the fact that the production and the employment of their defined template are up to the usual War of Ages standards, they are unable to redeem themselves from musical redundancy. Taken on its own, as a stand alone entry in the metalcore sphere, Eternal is an honorable release but when considered in the greater musical spectrum, it fails to stand out.

Score: 6.5/10

Review written by: Nerissa Judd

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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