10/20/17 Reviews (Gwar, Veil Of Maya, We Came A Romans)
"False Idol" By Veil Of Maya
Long time Veil Of Maya fans were thrown for a bit of a loop when the band released their 2015 album Matriarch. The band made a sharp switch in sound from full-on aggressive deathcore to a more melodic metalcore sound complete with the introduction of clean vocals. They did however keep their technical djent traits and the album's quality stayed on par with the band's previous work despite venturing into new territory. Their latest effort False Idol maintains this sound with an even greater confidence in their melodic capabilities. Melodic vocals are featured more prominently this time around and are on every track of the album. The first half of this record is very strong with some great djent grooves and earworm hooks. Especially on the songs "Doublespeak" and "Overthrow". The second half of the record starts to get a little bland however. The balance leans more towards the melodic side on this part of the record and, unlike on the previous album, the idea well seemingly starts going dry. The band still has a little ways to go before they master fully melodic songwriting but False Idol's first half shows a lot of potential.
Score: 3/5 - If the band could maintain the quality found in the first half of this record this would've been an excellent album. The lackluster second half however brings this record down to just a solid quality.
"The Blood Of Gods" By Gwar
Genre: Crossover Thrash/Heavy Metal
The unfortunate passing of frontman David Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, in 2014 put the future of Gwar in doubt. But Michael Bishop, who was the original Beefcake The Mighty character, has taken over lead vocal duties as a new character named Blothar. And the Gwar machine has kept moving with just as much outlandish bravado since then. The Blood Of Gods marks the first album since Blothar has taken over and fans will be happy to hear that Gwar still has their mojo. While Blothar doesn't have quite the same unique charisma as Oderus when expressing his disdain for humanity he more than makes up for it in holding down the fort in the vocal department. This album is full of fun catchy tracks and riffs that stick.with you. "I'll Be Your Monster" is a straight up rock and roll cut that'll have you singing along to the chorus in no time. "Viking Death Machine" leans more towards punk rock and makes for a nice driving track. "El Presidente" is the album favorite and imagines Gwar as the leaders of America. After killing the actual president of course. It has some of the catchiest riffs of the album including a prominent serpentine sounding riff in the chorus. While many Gwar fans may stick to the mantra of "No Oderus, no Gwar" this album is not one that should be so easily passed up. This record still has all the fun and irreverence the band has been known for the past 30 years. Just as the record's liner notes dictate, "Death cannot kill Gwar. Nothing can."
Score: 3.5/5 - Despite the change in singers Gwar still has it. The Blood Of Gods is still Gwar through and through and is a head banging good time.
"Cold Like War" By We Came As Romans
We Came As Romans have consistently been making music that's a cut above their post-hardcore leaning metalcore peers. Their previous self-titled album however, while commercially successful, received a large deal of criticism from fans and critics for the change in sound. The songs ventured more into alternative metal territory and a more radio friendly, commercial sound. With Cold Like War however the band seems to have honed in on the weaknesses of their previous record and polished them up. The metalcore elements the band is known for are much more prominent and the lyrics are overall less cheesy and have better hooks. The chorus of nearly every song is an ear worm and make much better balance of the harsh and clean vocals. The title track is a banger closer to the sound WCAR is more known for with Dave Stephens' screamed vocals taking lead for most of the track outside of the chorus. "Encoder" is another heavy favorite with no melodic vocals and a mixture of EDM style electronics making it a stand out. "Wasted Age" walks the line between the alt metal of the last record and the band's electronic-infused metalcore with groove-centered guitar riffs and another big chorus. Cold Like War brings back the quality that made We Came As Romans a prominent name in the first place. The band, now past the growing pains of the self-titled record, have emerged with a new album that is high quality without sacrificing their stylistic growth. This album is one that the band can be proud of themselves for and that their long time fans should be able to enjoy.