Pressure shows growth for Wage War and presents one of their most diverse bodies of work. The album strays from their usual sound without totally changing it. It shows that the band is driving to enforce their own blend, and take it to the next level.
Wage War, the metal band recognized for blending pit inducing drops with captivating melodies released their third album Pressure via Fearless Records.
The Florida based powerhouse is made up of Briton Bond (lead vocals), Cody Quistad (rhythm guitar, clean vocals), Seth Blake (lead guitar), Chris Gaylord (bass), and Stephen Kluesener (drums.)
In order to create Pressure, the band worked with producer Drew Fulk (Motionless in White, Lil Peep, IDKHOW) and recorded in Los Angeles for the first time.
“We were all out of our comfort zone, which was really cool,” Quistad says in a press release. “We couldn’t just go home after the day. We all lived in the same house. It was a great opportunity for us to reconnect. We’d go to shows together, come back, and write at 2am. Los Angeles is inspiring, because there’s a youthful drive and passion. Everyone is there to chase a dream. It gives you a mindset. You talk about going to L.A. to make a record when you’re 13. It was a bucket list thing for us.”
The album was teased with the single “Low” – quickly making charts with more than five million streams on Spotify. The debut single off the record, “Who I Am” (also the albums opening track) truly embodied what fans could expect. The raw lyrics with a catchy, harmonic chorus pair beautifully with snippets of harsh vocals and hard riffs.
“[The song] targets those people who only engage in discussions to spread negativity as it teeters between a razor-sharp riff, guttural screams, and a sweeping clean refrain,” says a press release.
Following right after is “Prison,” a song that provides insightful lyrics that hit home.
“I’m too deep to believe I can face myself / It’s hard not to give up when you go through hell” sings clean vocalist Cody Quistad who is quickly followed by emotion filled screams from Briton Bond.
“I’m trapped in my skin, this is my prison.”
At first, “Grave” seems very different as the song kicks in, with a new sound both rhythmically and by the pace of Bond’s clean lyrics. Suddenly the reverb cuts and the vocals are clean and soloed out. The call and response is sure to make this song a staple in the bands live performances.
“You come to a point of realizing you need to cut ties with toxic individuals in your life,” says Quistad about the song in a press release. “You’ve repeatedly given them chances, but they don’t deserve you.”
If you’re only this far into the album and you’re worried it is going to be too light for you – you are far mistaken. “Ghost” kicks off bold and heavy, showcasing some of Bond’s most vicious screams to date.
Not to mention, this track has one of the best breakdowns on the album less than two minutes in. It’s one of those short punches that the band has coined in the release of “Stitch” on Deadweight.
The album is full of honesty in lyricism. “Me Against Myself” provides some of the most personal lyrics. The album carries tones of self reflection, struggles and growth. The airy guitars and catchy chorus make this a radio track in the best way. “Hurt” highlights clean vocals across the board.
“It still hurts / It feels like everything just gets worse.”
The biggest twist in the album comes from “The Line” with a – dare I say it – crab-core influence. The production in this song is pristine, with just the right manipulation to take the song to the next level without throwing it all the way back to the Attack! Attack! days.
“Fury” sounds like the timeless Wage War that has been around from their debut work Blueprints. The riffs are tight and refined while Bond’s vocals rip through with repetition and persuasiveness. The production value of this song is also worth noting, with the addition of more electronic effects.
The only outlier that the album has is “Forget My Name.” The sound has a very different sound than one that Wage War has ever given. It sounds similar to that of I Prevail but not quite. Not to say that this track is bad, it just feels offset from the rest of the track.
“Take the Flight” kicks off hard, and does not stop. The repetition keeps you head banging along up until the harmony filled chorus kicks in. The bands balance of hard riffs and “pretty” harmonies is highlighted in this song.
The closing track of “Will We Ever Learn” blends the use of synths that have been present throughout the entire album. The mostly clean song doesn’t disappoint as it still introduced quick paced, heavy riffs and a combination of screams with harmonies in its closes verses.
Overall, Pressure shows growth for Wage War and presents one of their most diverse bodies of work. The album strays from their usual sound without totally changing it. It shows that the band is driving to enforce their own blend, and take it to the next level.
“There’s always pressure to make a great album, but we felt it even more so this time around,” says Quistad in a press release. “We pushed ourselves to keep this thing moving and growing. The theme was to be as catchy and as heavy as possible. We knew we had to do something people would notice. Ultimately, we tried to deliver a benchmark that says, ‘This is Wage War. This is what we can do.’”