Wovenwar (2014) Review:

Not As I Lay Dying.

Cool art.
Cool art.

Wovenwar stems from the remains of As I Lay Dying, and as such, similarities are plentiful. Wovenwar however, is no As I Lay Dying, something that is a little problematic for me. Obviously wanting to step away from Lambesis’ shadow, Wovenwar differs in one key department – vocals.

Wovenwar opts for clean singing over growls, which is alright, but I spent the whole album willing for it to go one step over what it was doing – it never quite felt like it reached its maximum potential. Each track features fantastic production values and, musically, the As I Lay Dying lads have never been better.

The album is written well, but one track stands out in particular: Archers. Archers to me, sounds like an insinuation of As I Lay Dying, talking about the breaking of an armoured archer core, one who goes against the rest; indeed, the screamed vocals on this track are surely an allusion to Tim Lambesis’ vocal style.

Stepping out of their comfort zone just a little has given the band a new breath of life and as such the precision of the instruments is outstanding – there are some fantastic riffs here along with brilliant solos. However, the music behind the vocals comes off as the better of the two, because of this, you will not tire of the album and it holds up on the metal scale very well despite Shane Blay’s slightly whiney vocals.

Vocally is where Wovenwar lets itself down, Blay’s singing voice (although well performed) doesn’t quite cut it over the whole of the album, as such, you are left willing him to let himself go and scream or roar or growl or whatever you want to call it. There are one or two moments throughout the album where he does scream, and it really livens it up, but I was left wanting more; not much more, but more nonetheless.

Blay’s voice, whining or not, is powerful and it does fit with the music well, it just may come as a shock going from As I Lay Dying’s brutality to the tones of Wovenwar. However, Wovenwar provides a solid debut, but not a classic one, if there were more death-vocals on the record Wovenwar would be something truly special, but as it is, it is shy of the greatness it clearly wants to be.

Summary:

Wovenwar is a good album marred only by my tastes, but if you’re like me, and like your metal with a bit more oomph in the vocals, prepare for something slightly underwhelming, but still overtly enjoyable.

Perfect to a fault, Wovenwar needs more aggression to be something truly great.

74/100

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