Forget As I Lay Dying. Forget the band, the music, and what they supposedly stood for. Forget Tim Lambesis. Forget his voice. Forget about all the crazy things he did and said. Forget it, forget all of it. I recommend we proceed that way from here. No preconceived notions, no harkening back to years and albums past, no expectations. I am guessing this what guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso, bassist/vocalist Josh Gilbert, and drummer Jordan Mancino were hoping when they got together with Shane Blay of the band Oh, Sleeper to create Wovenwar. This new group’s self-titled debut was released August 5, 2014 on Metal Blade Records.
Wovenwar pushes through the album like a heavier version of Rise Against. ‘Forward’ is the aptly titled first track. More of an intro, its light keyboards and synths build to the first single, ‘All Rise.’ The track is bright, crisp, and clean, nothing dark and dreary here. Bly’s clean vocals sail above Hipa and Sgrosso’s dueling guitars. Most of the tracks flow the same way; up tempo modern metal jams with brighter melodies and just the right amount of aggression. The album closes similarly to the way it came; with an instrumental, again perfectly titled, ‘Onward.’
If I gave you the Donny Osmond mystery artist treatment, and let you listen to this album without knowing anything about it or who it was from, you would have no idea where its origins came from. Any familiarity you might have with Shane Blay and Oh, Sleeper would probably be the only give away. Ok, there are a few spots that might spark your AILD memory. The drum/guitar riff at the end of ‘Tempest’ or the opening riff of ‘The Mason’ may sound a little familiar. But, for the most part, there are no remnants of the band they once were.
Wovenwar is not As I Lay Dying part 2. The guys have created their own separate band identity and it should be treated as such. Wovenwar is full of a fresh musical vision that seems to really suit the members quite well. Any and all of the full songs should be all over the radio. What a welcome sound that would be, eh?