Sound — 7
I Declare War has a crazy history, having originally starting in 2005 they've been fairly active releasing new material but they've been hemorrhaging members since then. As of earlier this year they lost their last original member and are literally a completely different band than the band that released their first album less than 10 years ago. From my somewhat limited internet sleuthing it appears most of the band's problems with members is everyone was just broke and couldn't keep doing it, or they weren't willing to leave their day jobs and their homes to go on tour anymore. "We Are Violent People by Nature" is the band's fifth full-length studio album and contains 10 tracks that clock in right at 30 minutes.
The album opens with the track "Quiet," which has some interesting "atmospheric" stuff going on in the intro as well as what I think is an electric violin. The two styles of growling vocals on the track almost have a call and response thing going on with each other on this track, with the higher screechier vocals and the deeper growlier vocals. "Tomb Sleep" uses a dollop of reverb on the vocals and I can't decide how I feel about it. "Blurred Vision" is up next, and opens with a neat little melody that runs through most of the song. This track actually has some of my favorite guitar work in it. "Black Heart" is another track that opens up with a nice melody but it is pretty quickly drowned out by palm-muted chugging rhythms during portions of the song. "Noose" changes things up by using a lot of palm-muted riffing and some double bass drum patterns. "Shadow Man" has an interesting type of almost-epic vibe in the beginning of the track and uses some really deep guttural vocals in the track. "A Dark Hole to Crawl Into" uses some almost clean vocals by Landon Tewers from The Plot In You during part of the track - which I found myself liking as a nice change from the rest of the album. "The Bad Man" seems to be about the boogey man - from the lyrics I can discern the bad man will take you away. "Eternal I Sleep" is fairly interesting as far as the riffs go, but it reminds me more of '90s alternative metal if you can listen past the vocals and drums and just tune into the guitar. The album closes out with the title track "We Are Violent People by Nature," which has an epic little intro, but soon breaks into fast tempo deathcore. It is a good song to end the album on because it kind of sums up the album in a lot of ways.
Lyrics — 7
Jamie Hanks is the main vocalist for the band, though apparently there were some credited and uncredited guest vocals on the album. I reviewed the digital version of this album and wasn't given access to any liner notes that may have cleared that up. My internet research turned up a lot of "rumors" about who was or was not providing guest vocals on any of the tracks from the album, so I'm not going to speculate. Jamie's vocals got old to me on this album and it helped the guttural vocals on "Shadow Man" stand out, as well as the relatively cleaner vocals by Landon Tewers from The Plot In You on "A Dark Hole to Crawl Into." I don't hate his vocals, but they rub me the wrong way after multiple songs.
Here are some of the lyrics from the track "Quiet" to give you an idea of the lyrical content of the album: "Dead on the ground/ you're going to f--king rot/ no reason you should be alive/ it's f--king disgusting/ human filth stewing in your own p-ss and sh-t/ a violent hatred/ no conflict of nature/ as a whole it makes me f--king sick/ close your eyes/ it's human f--king nature/ to stab those you love in the back/ wallow in your own self-pity/ you disastrous human pile of sh-t/ kill, kill, kill yourself/ disgusting human vile piece of sh-t/ our putrid stench, it wafts in the air/ the devil has a hold of your soul/ there is nothing that's going to get it back/ my hope is gone/ for now I sit and watch." Ten songs of that type of songwriting can get old for me by the end of the album, but it is much more tolerable if it is mixed into a playlist.
Overall Impression — 7
Okay, so basically, it appears the secret formula to writing an I Declare War song is to make a part with some palm-muted riffs and make a part with some tremolo picking, then add some double bass drum parts with a lot of cymbals sounding pretty much constantly. It may sound like I don't like deathcore, but the truth is that I don't like it when any band is sustaining itself completely off of clichés, which is essentially what is happening on this album. Basically, the production from their previous releases is a notch up on this album, but the dependence on deathcore clichés is up a notch, too. I think at the end of the day people will have a fairly mixed reaction to the album, but it isn't for me - it seemed like a lazy release from a creative standpoint. I didn't hate the album - my favorite songs would probably be "A Dark Hole to Crawl Into" because the variations of the vocals in the track, and "Eternal I Sleep" because I love the guitar riffs in that song. The band deserves credit, too, because the song and album title "We Are Violent People by Nature" is bada-s.