My first exposure to this metalcore juggernaut of a band was their 2006 release Pride of the Wicked. I instantly fell in love with the gritty “chuggachugga” guitars and screaming vocals, all blended together with harmonic guitar solos and deep background vocals. EVERY SONG on Pride of the Wicked is amazing. It is one of those classic albums I still listen to on a regular basis, even 8 years later! War of Ages is a Christian band and their songs are built to express their spirituality. Stone by Stone spoke to me in a deep way upon hearing it.
Here I am down on my knees again.
Give me a reason to live or help me understand why I feel I’m at war.
And my only hearts cry.
Let me hear the sound of your voice.
I know I’m not just here.
Bring purpose for my life
Leroy Hampton’s vocals of pure anguish as he screams these lyrics still touch me to this day.
After Pride of the Wicked, WOA re-recorded their first album and re-released it as Fire From The Tomb in 2007. I liked it, but this record was absolutely not as impressive as Pride of the Wicked. The songs weren’t as well produced, and the overall tone of the album didn’t grab me the way Pride of the Wicked did.
2008 saw the release of Arise and Conquer and although it was a great album, I just couldn’t love it the way I loved Pride. I was starting to wonder if Pride was just such a special album that nothing was ever going to compare to it. The song All Consuming Fire was a really good song with some amazing breakdowns. But it wasn’t Pride!! I did listen to this album much more then Fire From The Tomb.
Eternal was released in 2010, and with it brought a much more polished sound. This album featured three collaborations with other metal heavy weights. Track 2, Desire, features Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying. The title track, Eternal, has Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D. sharing the mic with Leroy. I am a huge fan of P.O.D., so this combination really intrigued me. Eternal is a great song that is composed very well. The third collaboration is on a song 7, Lack of Clarity, which features Josh Gilbert, also of As I Lay Dying. Eternal is a great album, but the overall tone of the songs sounded a tad monotone to me. I was beginning to think Pride of the Wicked was a once in a lifetime supremely great album that would never be surpassed.
2012 arrived and War of Ages released Return To Life. This is one solid album! Immortal kicks off the album and WOA start with the pedal to the metal and they don’t let off until the end. You can see a progression of skill from the first album to this one. It had been four albums since Pride, and I was beginning to suspect for sure that WOA would never again make another record that good.
Please don’t misunderstand, all of the aforementioned albums are very good in their own right. Pride of The Wicked just has that special sauce of awesomeness that very few albums have. Pyromania by Def Leppard, 1984 by Van Halen, Appetite for Destruction by Guns ‘n Roses. These albums stand the test of time. That is where I place Pride of the Wicked.
Now in 2014, WOA is getting ready to release Supreme Chaos. As chance would have it, my copy of the new CD arrived today! Will my hopes and dreams of a metal epiphany that outshines Pride of the Wicked finally be realized?
Until I post my review of the new record, listen to all of the official videos from War of Ages and bang your head a little! (Here’s a hint, the two last videos are from the new album!)