In just 12 short years, War of Ages have gone from a relatively unknown little band hailing from Erie, PA to one of the forerunners and frontrunners of the modern Christian metal scene. Having toured with the likes of Soilwork, Living Sacrifice and the now defunct As I Lay Dying, who are perhaps their closest modern contemporary, War of Ages have displayed a steady and impressive maturation since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2004. In fact, it could be argued that they're one of few bands who consistently release their best album with each new release. 2012's Return to Life saw the band sticking to what they do best and had their strongest and most refined songwriting to date, but received a lukewarm response from longtime fans and critics alike, likely because they still seemed reluctant to reach outside of their comfort zone. These concerns, however, can be laid to rest, because the latest opus from War of Ages, Supreme Chaos, is easily their heaviest, most dynamic and fully-realized album to date.
What's immediately obvious as soon as the opening notes of "From Ashes" play is that War of Ages are dabbling with electronics this time around, a trend that has become very prevalent in modern metal. This is something the band has never experimented with in the past, and this newfound sonic quality is used tastefully throughout the album as a whole. It is a welcome and unique addition to the War of Ages sound that adds something new to their compositions. The electronic sounds are interwoven with the vicious attack of the guitars in such a way that it adds even more punch, such as in the syncopated rhythms and stuttering, borderline djent riffs of "Chaos Theory." Some parts of the album even venture into more progressive and classical territories, which probably has something to do with the addition of new guitarist Jack Daniels, who you might know from a little band called Hope For The Dying. His songwriting contributions are probably one of the best things to happen to War of Ages, and his shred-tacular lead work is staggering. The dueling solos between him and founding guitarist Steve Brown are definitely one of the highlights of Supreme Chaos and demand to be listened to over and over again. Listen to "Lost In Apathy," by far one of the best songs War of Ages have ever written, to hear what I mean.
War of Ages have always had a fantastic sense of melody, and the melodies contained within Supreme Chaos are as catchy as they are moving. The battle anthem "Lionheart" is epic in its sound and contains a soaring guitar melody during the chorus that makes you feel invincible. That being said, War of Ages haven't sacrificed any of their relentless heaviness for melody. The riffs are mighty and the breakdowns, thunderous. Heed this warning: your neck just might be a little bit sore after listening to Supreme Chaos. The band made a good move in choosing Joshua Barber (Norma Jean, Everything in Slow Motion) to produce the album and Will Putney (Impending Doom, For Today) to mix the album. The production on Supreme Chaos is clearer and harder hitting than any of War of Ages' previous efforts.
Lead vocalist Leroy Hamp's lyrics are as challenging, inspiring and worshipful as ever, and there is an uplifting undercurrent that runs through the entirety of Supreme Chaos, whether it be found in the lyrics or the major key riffs that makes the album feel like a powerful and immediate call to arms for all Christians.
Overall, War of Ages have unleashed a metal masterpiece with Supreme Chaos. There's no disputing that this is the best album they have ever written, and with the addition of the brilliant Jack Daniels to the already stellar lineup, this could mark the beginning of a new chapter for one of Christian metal's most gifted prodigies. Supreme Chaos comes highly recommended.- Review date: 7/22/14, written by Aaron Lambert of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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