Overall Score: 7.5/10 Solos: 8/10 Hooks: 8/10 Memorable Songs: 7/10 Pros: Great solos | Blay's vocals | All Rise Cons: Fades a bit after an excellent start
From the ashes of As I Lay Dying have arisen Wovenwar – the remaining members of As I Lay Dying with a new singer in the shape of Oh, Sleeper’s Shane Blay. Their début self-titled album launched with a bang recently and so Rock Sins’ have given it the thorough assessment it deserves.
After the intro, it is abundantly clear that from first proper track “All Rise” through to the closing “Onward” that Wovenwar are a stylistic marriage of old and new. Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso’s distinctive guitar tones are still very noticeable though the guitar work has more freedom with increased opportunities for Hipa to cut loose on some hugely enjoyable solos.
Shane Blay’s vocal style is obviously different to that of Tim Lambesis, his tone and delivery far more accessible with a greater capacity for huge vocal hooks vital for wider appeal. The melody of Blay’s voice blends seamlessly with the rest of the band on songs such as the excellent “The Tempest” and provides an excellent counterpart to the riff work on other tracks like the aforementioned ‘All Rise’. His range and approach to the album means that Wovenwar have far more options available to them, and this album is a far more varied and well-rounded effort than any of the As I Lay Dying albums were.
“Wovenwar” is one of the most upbeat metal albums that will be released all year. The album has a huge feel-good factor to it and some of the choruses (All Rise, Death To Rights, ) are begging to be sung back at the band by huge crowds. This is a great example that heavy metal does not have to be angry to be successful.
Wovenwar’s self-titled album is the band’s claim to redemption caused by a problem that was not the fault of any of them. This situation was thrust upon them unexpectedly, but it has resulted in the birth of a really good band who have begun with a very strong album that has to be classed as one of the best metal débuts of 2014. It’ll be fascinating to see if and how they can build on this in the months and years to come.
Wovenwar is out now on Metal Blade Records.