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Wage War - STIGMA

Album artwork for Wage War's forthcoming fifth album, STIGMA.

Wage War's fifth studio album, STIGMA, marks a triumphant return to the band's heavier roots while infusing their sound with fresh industrial metal influences. Set for digital release on June 21, 2024, via Fearless Records, and physical release on September 6, STIGMA showcases Wage War's evolution as they enter their massive new era as a group.

The Florida five-piece, consisting of lead vocalist Briton Bond, rhythm guitarist and clean vocalist Cody Quistad, lead guitarist Seth Blake, bassist Chris Gaylord, and drummer Stephen Kluesener, have built a reputation for crafting songs that deftly balance hooks and heaviness. This signature style is evident throughout STIGMA, but with an added twist of unexpected sonic elements that keep listeners on the tips of their toes.

The album opens with "THE SHOW'S ABOUT TO START," a fittingly ominous introduction that sets the tone for the aggressive onslaught to come on the remaining nine tracks. "SELF SACRIFICE" follows, a track that exemplifies Wage War's ability to blend melodic choruses with punishing breakdowns.

"MAGNETIC," the lead single, is a standout track that captures the essence of the album. The song's melodic verses and catchy choruses are juxtaposed with industrial-inspired riffs and ferocious roars from Bond. The lyrical theme of an inescapable attraction is complemented by the song's magnetic pull on the listener, ensuring it lingers long after the track ends.

"NAIL5" pays homage to the band's journey and evolution across their five albums. Built on a head-nodding groove, the song is a testament to Wage War's commitment to pushing their sound further. The band's statement, "You're either in or you're in the way," is a bold declaration of their intent to dominate the metalcore scene with this album cycle.

"TOMBSTONE" is another highlight, with Bond's razor-sharp vocals and the band's thick, groovy riffs driving the track. The song's relentless energy, powerful breakdowns, and breakneck blast beats solidify it as one of the heaviest offerings on the entire album, if not their entire discography.

The latter half of STIGMA continues to deliver intense tracks like "HAPPY HUNTING" and "HELLBENT," both of which showcase the band's penchant for blending melody and brutality. "IN MY BLOOD" offers a slightly more introspective moment, while "IS THIS HOW IT ENDS?" closes the album on a high note, leaving listeners both satisfied and eager for more.

Overall, STIGMA is a compelling addition to Wage War's discography. It successfully merges the band's traditional elements with a slew of new influences, creating a sound that feels both familiar and refreshingly innovative. Fans of the band's earlier work will appreciate the return to a heavier sound, while newcomers will find plenty to enjoy in the album's dynamic and unpredictable nature. Furthermore, STIGMA is a testament to Wage War's ability to evolve and experiment while staying true to their core sound. With its blend of heaviness, melody, and industrial elements, the album is sure to make a significant impact on the metalcore scene and solidify Wage War's status as one of the genre's leading acts.


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