Released: Aug 5, 2014
Genre: Melodic Metalcore, Alternative Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records
Number Of Tracks: 15
The members of As I Lay Dying jumped ship with the conviction of Tim Lambesis in a murder for hire plot, and reformed with a new vocalist as Wovenwar, and have released a self-titled album as their debut.
WovenwarFeatured review by: UG Team, on august 11, 2014 3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Tim Lambesis was arrested in mid-2013 in a murder for hire plot to have his wife killed, and soon the issues were compounded by admissions of steroid abuse. Tim Lambesis even went on to admit he had given up his Christian faith, and hinted that the rest of the band had done the same, while they had continued to tour as a Christian metal act in As I Lay Dying. Tim Lambesis pretty quickly alienated the other members of As I Lay Dying, how disbanded and formed Wovenwar with a new vocalist - Shane Blay of Oh, Sleeper. Their debut album contains 15 tracks with a run time of 54 minutes. The first single released for the album was "All Rise" in April, which was followed by a second single, "The Mason" in June. As an immediate change, the vocals are almost completely clean and melodic, which is a huge change from As I Lay Dying. Though there are a lot of musical similarities between the bands, Wovenwar is much more a hard rock band than a metal band, based off of this release.
The album opens with a short instrumental track, "Foreword," which is more of an ambience-creating intro than an actual song. The next track is the lead single, "All Rise," which opens up with some guitar pyrotechnics and some of the heaviest playing on the album. These are the first vocals on the album and they are completely clean. "Death to Rights" is very catchy to my ears and probably my favorite track from the album because of the way it mixes heaviness and melody. "Tempest" has the band playing much more squarely in the hard rock sound than the previous songs on the album, and more clearly defines where the band is going with their sound as Wovenwar. "The Mason" is the second single released from the album, and also a fairly intense track with a lot to like. "Moving Up" is another track that sounds a lot more like modern radio hard rock than metal, but it has the right type of energy to get your blood pumping. "Sight of Shore" makes good use of pummeling drums and relentless riffing with melodic vocals soaring over the top. "Sight of Shore" also has my favorite solo from the album. "Father/Son" is a much more orchestrated track than the rest of the album, opening with drums and acoustic guitar, but slowly building up to a very big and epic track. After building up to a huge track, it closes out with just a voice and an acoustic guitar. "Profane" is a good example of the band trying to walk the line somewhere between metal and hard rock, but with some nice use of gang vocals, though used very sparingly. "Archers" has a lot of tremolo picking, little melodic runs, and creative processing on the vocals. "Ruined Ends" is another more straightforward hard rock track. "Identity" has a fun riff that runs through most of the song - and slower ambient sections - which creates a fairly interesting track, overall. "Matter of Time" reminds me of Coheed & Cambria for some reason - and that will give you a good idea how much the band's sound has changed since disbanding As I Lay Dying and reforming as Wovenwar. "Prophets" opens up with acoustic guitars and is much more laid back than most of the album, though it picks up the pace and some heavy electric guitars and drums come in about a third of the way through the track. "Onward" is a lot like the opening track, "Foreward," as it is more about creating ambience than being an actual song. I thought the album was enjoyable, but fans of As I Lay Dying won't necessarily think so. // 8
Lyrics: Shane Blay has what I think of as a radio-friendly voice. While Shane Blay is very skilled, there isn't anything about his vocals that necessarily stand out. The backing vocals provided by the other band members help to add character to the vocal performance on the album. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some lyrics from the track "Father/Son": "We aren't sons of our father's sins/ we don't inherit iniquities/ we aren't heirs to thrones of greed/ we don't wear the gold they've thieved and schemed/ you don't choose your name/ just what you leave in your wake/ we are born, all of us, innocent/ we don't wear the wounds of a dying man/ no ties no allegiance to majesties/ no veil to blind your reasoning/ no script rehearsed in all you speak/ own your words in the voice you sing/ no cause to fight for buried kings/ let be what legions they've conceived/ no oaths to swear or give repeat/ all words are yours to ink and sing/ you don't choose your name/ just what you leave in your wake." // 9
Overall Impression: I can't really complain about this album, but I'm not sure fans of As I Lay Dying are going to seamlessly convert over - there are some subtle differences in instrumental sound and some pretty big changes in the vocal sound. My favorite track from the album was "Death to Rights," "Profane" and "Father/Son." I didn't really dislike any songs on the album, but I feel like "Foreward" and "Onward" were more filler than actual content. Overall, not a bad effort for a "new" band, and I truly hope they can survive the drama that Tim Lambesis has brought on the rest of the band. // 8
tffan92, on august 15, 2014 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: The band members of Wovenwar have greatly gone out of their way to prove that this is not As I Lay Dying by any means and they weren't bluffing. This is a whole new animal. Unlike before in AILD, where everything was aggressive and loud with an "in your face" type of attitude, the overall vibe of the album is very melodic and at times atmospheric and progressive. This doesn't mean all the heaviness from before has disappeared completely, it's been, more or less, scale back some and changed into a different form.
Guitar powerhouse duo Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso have taken great advantage over their change in sound and it shows in their song writing. They had hit a creative wall in As I Lay Dying due to genre limitations and the band's one dimensional sound but now they can expand musically and express themselves more freely and it is very refreshing. The riffs and solos are catchy and expertly written with a great variety of musical ideas and dynamics being expressed and showcased. There's even more piano work. Jordan Mancino's drumming is blazingly fast as always. The man is a human drum machine. Mancino has had more time to think through his drum patterns for the album and they fit very well into the songs. Josh Gilbert is getting more and more room to shine in his role as bass player. Every album these guys put out the bass appears more and more prominent on the mix. He has excellent bass lines on this album and really shines in the songs "Tempest" and "Mason."
The production work is excellent and tight. The old AILD crew hired Bill Stevenson once again to handle production duties. If you liked what he did on AILD's "Awakened," you'll love the sound on this album. You can hear everything with clarity and the bass tone is excellent. The toms sound bigger this time around, and the drum reverb sometimes gives off a spacey feeling like on the song "Father/Son." // 8
Lyrics: This is the main attraction for this album, the singing. Shane Blay delivers great vocal phrasings that are very catchy with harmonies being well thought out. Some of the chorus lines are addicting to listen to. Highlights include "All Rise," "Tempest," "Mason," and "Ruined Ends." Josh and Shane make an awesome vocal duo and the collaboration between the two really shows how they complement each other's voices. This album is pretty much all clean vocals except only being a few instances of actual screaming that serve as a type of climax. Overall the vocals are excellent sounding and Shane's falsettos are superb.
Josh Gilbert unfortunately got short-handed doing vocals. Besides singing some harmony fills, he only fully appears on the last two songs of the album, "Matter of Time" and "Prophets." Once you do get to hear his voice you'll most likely be wishing for more.
The lyrical content is somewhat vague. However it gives hints that relate to the struggle the As I Lay Dying members faced when Tim Lambesis was arrested and sent to prison. It's nice to see the lyrics move beyond Christian themes and into other topics to keep from getting stale. Shane Blay's lyrics from Oh, Sleeper were getting repetitive with it's preachiness. With Wovenwar, Shane probably used this as an opportunity to move on and work on other lyrical subjects. // 9
Overall Impression: Wovenwar's debut album is a more accessible, radio friendly form of metal and it's not a bad thing at all. Radio friendliness rarely works for bands and musicians who are known for their aggressive styles but in this case it is surprisingly a breath of fresh air. Each band member has finally gotten the chance to be expressive outside their usual boundaries and it paid off because they don't have to focus on writing within a specific genre and instead they can now focus and experiment with new textures, sounds, and songwriting ideas.
With Wovenwar, a slightly progressive sound has been born and it is a drastic change compared to As I Lay Dying and Oh, Sleeper. You can tell right off the bat from the first track that Wovenwar is something totally different than before. Some of the lyrics, riffs and solos are catchy as hell like anthems of stadium rock and metal. Genre-wise the album fits somewhere in between hard-rock and heavy metal. The best songs on the album that really stood out are "All Rise," "Death to Rights," "Tempest," "Mason," "Father/Son," "Profane," "Ruined Ends," and "Prophets."
If you like metal without the screaming, go pick up this album. If you're really into As I Lay Dying or just straight up into hard-core and other aggressive styles, it might be a mixed bag for you. If you're expecting a continuation of AILD you'll be sorely disappointed. You'll either love the new musical style or hate it. People will complain that the band members have gone soft but with the one-dimensional sound they've had to work with for years this evolution was going to happen eventually. // 9