Wovenwar - 'Honor Is Dead'

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Wovenwar - 'Honor Is Dead'

Wovenwar's way of changing tack and aiming for a different and younger audience.

Oh Wovenwar what have you done? Your debut album was a blistering slice of Modern Power/Prog Metal, each track a master class in how to perform aggressive and angst-ridden music that's filled with a youthful energy that pulled the listener along with an undeniable force. Fast forward to 2016 and Wovenwar has return with 'Honor Is Dead'.

Their first album had singer Shane Blay using his powerful and melodic vocal roar to complement the music, by being the focal point for the band's obvious love of vocal melodies. On the new release however – gone for the most part are his clean vocals, to be replaced by the dreaded Cookie Monster growls (copyright Sesame Street) that will put a lot of people off. Over the years, growls and guttural vocals haven't personally seemed to bother me as much as they used to, and when used for effect or as an aid to a song's story, I understand their use and quite like them. However, when it's just an almost relentless barrage of shouty vocals with no let up, it gets old fast and spoils what could have been a great sophomore release.

The actual music is fine and it follows on from where the debut album ended. The choruses are excellent, seeming to be small melodic islands sitting in a sea of vitriol; it's just the surrounding ocean of vocal noises that wash upon their shores that becomes the problem and soon starts to grate on the nerves.

Before anyone jumps on my case and says I dismissed this without giving it a fair chance, I asked to review this and pre-bought a copy long before I'd heard it and like all of my other review albums, I assure you this got at least six listens (full play-throughs) before I put finger to keyboard. Yet, for all the musical talents that Wovenwar obviously possess, Blay's new way of singing does nothing for me, or dare I say, these songs.

'...Dead' is, I'm presuming, Wovenwar's way of changing tack and aiming for a different and younger audience, which is, of course, their prerogative. So musically the same as before, vocally very, very different. This isn't for me I'm afraid to say, but maybe some of our readers will get a kick out of 'Honor Is Dead'. As always, I ask you in the end to please make your own minds up.

Ian Johnson

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