With all of the Christian metal bands that are out there right now, it's hard to keep track with every single one that comes popping up out of nowhere. Even though they have toured with several of the big hardcore bands such as As I Lay Dying and Throwdown, War of Ages is one of the many new Christian hardcore acts that is not getting the attention they deserve. In 2005, they released their self-titled debut on Strike First Records, a small and not very well known independent record label in Sun City, California.
If you are a fan of hardcore metal, there is a lot to like about this self-titled debut. Imagine a band taking the heavy metal of Pantera, Demon Hunter, As I Lay Dying, and Shadows Fall and rolling them all into one. The first track opens with a piece of dialogue used on the 1995 Jesus Freak album by dc Talk, "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips but walk out the door and deny Him with their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." From there, we are drawn into a full one and a half minute metal onslaught of heavy guitar riffs, fast hitting drums, and a brief scream from Leroy Hamp. And that is just the introduction. The next track, "Stand Your Ground," doesn't even let up once while at the same time deals with the issue of standing in your faith with the Lord and informing the listener to know that we will not see a change in the world when "we close our eyes and think to ourselves that everything will fade away."
The subject matter of "Brothers In Arms" deals with those of us who are in Christ uniting together and finding strength from Him to guide us through our troubling times of need. Again, it's another excellent metal anthem that never lets up. There are no ballads at all on this album. "Only The Strong Survive" is the only track that opens with a light acoustic guitar and slowly moves into a light drum beat before the heavy lead and rhythm guitars come in and obliterate the rest of it. I have only one minor dislike about this album and that is that you can tell the band was exremely limited at the time of recording this album. There are times when Leroy's voice does not come out as professionally as it should have. When he screams, he is right on the mark. However, he tries to add in just a little rap/hiphop into the mix, and I felt like it wasn't coming out the way he intended it to. "Stand Your Ground" is an example of Leroy's voice not coming out correctly at the end of the song, "With every breath, and all that I am, I will make a stand, right to the end." Also because the song is very raw, you can see on certain instances that the band was trying to lay down the music as quickly as they could. After the album was released, War of Ages frontman Leroy Hamp mentioned that he enjoyed the album and the songs but wished there was a way to go back and perfect the mistakes they made. That led the band to re-record the album in 2007 on Facedown Records under the new title Fire From The Tomb.
With all of that said, this album is a Christian metal masterpiece, in my opinion. War of Ages has become one of my personal favorite unknown Christian metal bands that is out there right now. If you are into any of the Christian metal bands I mentioned earlier (Demon Hunter, As I Lay Dying, etc.) then there is no excuse not to have this album in your collection. If you disliked any of those bands and you hate hardcore metal, you can easily pass this up. For the rest of you, go get this album and enjoy it.- Review date: 6/15/08, written by Fred Keel of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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