Last Tuesday War Of Ages released its sixth studio album, Supreme Chaos. Its predecessor, Return to Life, was rather disappointing after the great Eternal. Not that Return to Life was that terrible, it just was not that special either. None of its songs could stand out in the War Of Ages repertoire. Decent songs, but not remarkable.
Supreme Chaos knows how to break away from a potential downward spiral. The sound is still recognisable War Of Ages, but adding a new guitarist, Hope For The Dying’s Jack Daniels, was a wise decision to attain that little bit of extra to make the sound fresh and creative again.
It is exactly the guitar loops on several tracks that make this a memorable album. Both “From Ashes” and “Lost in Apathy” open with a speeded guitar riff and soon tear down the walls of the house in a brutal and overwhelming sound. The same stamina is found on “Chaos Theory”, one of the singles that was release before the album hit the shelves, and several other songs on the album. It is this powerful brutal sound that creates a convincing consistency on the album.
Add to that several great breakdowns, e.g. “On Broken Wings” and “Still Small Voice.” Finish it off with some virtuous metal solos, like on “Amber Alert” and “Ecstasy.” The result is a great mixture of guitar based metal. The vocals, drums and bass are still as good as on the previous record, but it is the guitars that make Supreme Chaos stand out from its predecessors.
Also in the vocal department War Of Ages does great on Supreme Chaos. The songs display Leroy Hamp’s strength as a singer with the shredding screams, while still keeping the joint shouts the band does so well – creating an anthem feeling on several tracks and inviting to sing along.
War of the Words
Lyrically, I am happy to see that War Of Ages has, at least to some degree, parted ways with the battle language that characterizes their previous work. It is almost tiring to define the whole reality in terms of bloody warfare. It seems that War Of Ages has finally been able to broaden its horizon past (spiritual) wars. At the same time, despite this “softening” of the War Of Ages lyrics, I am still not a fan of their texts.
Granted, War Of Ages has a positive message in comparison to the lot of the despair that is found with many metal bands. Their songs call for a hopeful acceptance of life (e.g. “Chaos Theory”), while at the same time realizing the limits of the human endeavour: we need God (e.g. “Lost in Apathy” and “Renegade”). A worthy message reflected in the songs.
However, the lyrics are still too obvious; they show little poetic creativity. I prefer lyrics that I can wrestle with before understanding them and/or making them my own. The lyrics of War Of Ages do not address my poetic imagination enough to be touched by them.
All in all, War Of Ages has been able to overcome the hiccup that was Return to Life and is back with an extremely powerful and convincing metalcore album. Supreme Chaos is a great War Of Ages record that thanks most of its assets to the gripping guitars on all of the tracks.
War Of Ages – Supreme Chaos (Facedown Records, 2014)