War of Ages
Return to Life

For four albums I reviewed and extolled the virtues of War of Ages as a top notch Christian, melodic death metal/ metalcore act who were deserving of As I Lay Dying type attention, peaking with 2008s Arise and Conquer. However, with 2010s Eternal, the band shifted into more commercial territory morphing into a more predictable sugary and  obviously Christian themed Killswitch Engage/All That Remains type band, with lackluster results (in my opinion of course).

So here is album number 6 (or 7 depending on how you view album do overs), and while the band is still much more of a metalcore band than melodic death metal with far more clean choruses and such, they still manage to keep me moderately entertained by way of some tantalizing guitar work here and there and a study Tim Lambesis production once again. Which is a good thing, because without those elements, Return to Life would simply be another run of the mill, boring Christian metalcore act.

Opener “Immortal” is pretty much all you need to hear to gauge the rest of the album. Sturdy hardcore opening, some galloping leads, some clean crooning and some gang chants – all with plucky, uplifting Christian lyrics. The template is pretty consistent for the majority of the album as the likes of “Redeemer”, “Fallen Idol” “Song of Solomon”  and  “Psalms” show with tangible repetition (complete with requisite acoustic break “M.E.B”). However, the few moments or more energy and cantering melodic riffs are what keep me from hitting the eject button. Those moments in  “Silent Night”, “With Honor”, “Final Act” and closer “Unite” while still rife with the genre cliches add something extra whether it be an 80s thrash vibe, sumptuous solo, or galloping, energetic melody line to make all the other stuff more tolerable.

Return to Life is a little improvement over Eternal, but only marginally as its still a pretty predictable and safe effort, though it is helped by a few stellar riffs littered around the more mainstream and sugary stuff. Though stalwart fans of the band and the genre will no doubt still enjoy it. I do at times, but have to admit my staunch defense of War of Ages isn’t as vehement as it was a few years ago.

As much as I love Facedown Record and they are my go to Christian label, they need to inject something new into their roster that isn’t as predictable as this and the recent A Plea For Purging, Gideon  or Altars releases. Luckily, the upcoming sophomore effort by Your Memorial will give Christian metal fans something a little more enthralling to get excited about.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 13th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: AARONIUS

    Yeah I agree that War of Ages need a little something more to become a top-tier act. I can respect the talent, but this style has been done to DEATH.

    I’m really interested in Your Memorial’s new one. I heard one song and it seemed way more heavy on the melodic side of things which actually made me a little nervous. I mean I’m not a complete music snob who needs blast beats all the time, but their last album had some truly crushing heavy parts. I hope the new one has a good balance of both.


  2. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Yes it does- dont worry


  3. Commented by: AARONIUS

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