Release Date: October 1, 2021 Genre: Metalcore, Post-Hardcore Label: Fearless Records
Wage War, a metalcore/post-hardcore band based out of Ocala, Florida, will release their anticipated third studio record, Manic, with Fearless Records. After a solid release with their last record, Pressure (2019), on streaming platforms, metalcore/post-hardcore die-hards were not too keen on where the band was going for a direction. It was getting a lot more into the mainstream market. Die-hard fans are hoping to see Manic go more into their roots and not get so much of that radio/repetitiveness of the last record. I do believe it does fill in some of those aspects, but in other points, it doesn't. The album starts with "Relapse," with a very big instrumental at the start. Nice metal screams, but you notice that repetitive chorus right off the bat like the last record. Near the end, they do have a cool sound effect that sounded like I heard from Star Wars. I don't remember quite well the name of it, but it's a nice little reference Wage War put in. "Teeth" starts with some more hard screams as well as some "Ah-Ah" type sounds, sounding like Disturbed's "Down with the Sickness." The song has a very nice punchy guitar breakdown. But I'm continuing to see this same repetitive theme like the last record with the receptive choruses. But the song does its job of being a lot more of that metalcore sound that Wage War is good for.
The title track "Manic" is a far different vibe to the record, giving that hard metal vibes with hard vocals from Briton (lead vocals). This track, very much I can tell, gives a lot of different inspiration from a lot of metalcore/post-hardcore in the genres right now, you can tell, and it sits very well in the album. If you're into a lot of metalcore/post-hardcore bands in the last few years, this song is for you. "High Horse" has a little bit of inspiration I can hear from Motionless In White for certain parts of the vocals. But keeping that nice hard metal, clean vocals from Cody. This to me, was much of an album filler track for sure.
"Circle The Drain" is the first real clean vocals on the album, with a metal/hard rock arena-type sound. This song did give a little bit of Pressure vibes but kept with that new Wage War sound. They did keep up with that three to four times of the same chorus in a song, but I feel like this song suited it because of the arena rock/metal vibe they were going for. The drums and the bass felt real nice in the song. I kept going back into this song after listening to the record in full. "Godspeed" is another track going with the clean vocals but balancing it out with the screams and having some solo instrumentals in the song. Wage War continues with that repetitive chorus that it's getting quite annoying hearing it so much, and so far into the album, that's what you're just waiting for it. The guitars, the bass, and the drums were killer on the track. The guitar riffs at the beginning of "Death Roll" sound like something you hear in like Whitechapel or that very almost deathcore-sounding band. They do continue to go with the same guitar riffs in the song. As well as continuing those hard metal vocals. This is another song I feel like fans that loved that metalcore/post-hardcore from Wage War; this song is perfect for you. "Slow Burn" was a pretty enjoyable track that was with that new Wage War sound and with the cleans and the metal vocals mixed well. The repetitiveness for this track wasn't as much but was there, and the instrumentals helped keep the track going. "Never Said Goodbye" starts with the vocals, and instrumentals gave me chills down my whole body. That's when I realize a track is going to be good. The chills were going away further into the song. But the vocals from Briton, Cody, Seth, and Chris, you guys did great. Amazing heart-string intro on that song. For sure my second favourite track on the album.
"True Colors" has very nice rhythm guitars. I loved hearing them in the song. This was another solid track that felt like a good album track, and I would love to hear it again once in a while. The record ends off with "If Tomorrow Never Comes." Starting hard, but the middle pulls you back in with soft clean, arena singing, then arena cleans with the metal cleans, then ending into a very big anthem instrumentally. Honestly, it's a solid closer to the album. Wage War, I say, put together some good bangers for Manic. It does have some of those heavy hitters that fans are hoping to hear but still has those chorus-driven repetitive songs you hear on Pressure. I hope, and bear in mind, that they fix that on the next record. If they end up not doing that next record cycle, I can see a rerun of Pressure but on much of a larger scale.