War of Ages
Arise and Conquer

Personally, (and I’ve thought this way since 2006’s Pride of the Wicked), Pennsylvania’s War of Ages are a far superior act to the far more hyped As I Lay Dying when it comes to Christian metalcore with a heavy Gothenburg lean. That fact is only cemented with the band’s excellent third album (not counting last years reworking of the rather average debut), an album that sees the band deliver arguably some of the best American melodic death metal guitar work this side of The Absence, along with all the righteous grace filled prose and hardcore presence you can handle.

Of course those that simply despise melodic American death metal/metalcore, especially that of a Christian kind, should simply avoid Arise and Conquer as it has all the trappings of the what you hate about modern American metalcore. However, for those that enjoy well crafted, melodic death metal with some hardcore undercurrent and a heavy dose of Christianity, War of Ages, along with label mates A Plea For Purging offer the very best of the genre (even more so considering The Showdown’s turn for the worst).

Getting right to it with the superb, sumptuous guitar work of opener “All Consuming Fire” and short but swift stab of “When Faith Turns to Ashes”, War of Ages grab you immediately, though the slightly overdone gang choruses of the otherwise decent “Through the Flames” is a slight misstep. However, the rest of the albums 10 tracks are all sturdy, galloping numbers with only limited clean vocals or hokey moments of clichéd Christian grace and introspection. The guitar work of Steve and Branon Bernatowicz is the highlight of the album as they weave and dance a dual layered, pure Gothenburg assault under the hardcore exterior that few American bands can match. Tracks like “Salvation”, “Sleep of Prisoners”, standout “Wages of Sin”, “The Awakening” (which was on the reworked Fire From the Tomb), high octane “Generational Curse” while superficially stomping under the weight of Leroy Hemp’s generic hardcore roar are accentuated by numerous solos, and cantering flourishes in the riff department that cull from heavy metal and thrash as well as hardcore and NWSDM. Only “Yet Another Fallen Eve” and closing “The Deception of Strongholds” and fall slightly into more sugary clichéd Christian realms, but fit in the overall scheme of the bands obvious beliefs.

Ironically the album, as with the reworked debut, was produced by Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying-nothing like producing an album that by a band that blows your last two efforts away, huh Tim? Still the sound is less heavy handed that Fire From the Tomb, and treads the fine line between a well produced big sound and a natural sound. Also, I kinda dig they have used similarly themed Dave Quiggle artwork for all their albums (except for the original debut). The end result is a stellar if by the numbers example of, melodeath/metalcore that’s arguably one of the standouts on the genre, regardless of faith.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 11th, 2008


  1. Commented by: swampthang

    hehe Strength Within off of their Pride Of The Wicked album was like my dungeon hacking theme song for elder scrolls oblivion, yes it sounds gay i know. but anyways love this band can’t wait to pick this stuff up. though ET are their breakdowns good on here.

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    yeah theres a few sorta breakdowns-nothing too prevalent or obvious though-this is more about dual riffs and solos

  3. Commented by: swampthang

    ohh icic cool

  4. Commented by: Grover Hunter

    this ablum is the shit..hella good riffs and solos BACK TO BACK

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