Any Given Sin – War Within (Album Review)

Over the last decade there honestly have been only a few new bands to enter the Hard Rock scene that really turn your head. Yes, the genre has continued on, but most new acts are a new hybrid of Hard Rock that perhaps does not appeal to fans of Hard Rock’s roots; melodic guitars, emotional yet rough vocals, and a thick atmosphere. Thankfully there have been a few acts that are clearly more rooted in the tradition of Hard Rock like Any Given Sin.

A band out of Maryland, Any Given Sin have been going at it for since the 2010s… so they are a more mature, seasoned group of players. Bringing on Vocalist Vic Ritchie in 2017, the core of Mike Conner (guitar), Rich Stevenson (bass), and Mike Showalter (drums) had found their missing link. Forging a sound that became more defined, soon they would find success with “Dynamite”; a single which quickly became the #1 most spun song on SiriusXM’s Octane in 2019. Now four years later, Any Given Sin has put out a list of strong, successful singles since then, but not an album. Odd? Yes, but this is the modern era of music, and sadly the advent of streaming has almost killed the concept of a full-length album. However, many true music lovers still appreciate and love the format of an album… so what gives Any Given Sin?

Well, again, it is not an easy terrain to navigate in music today. So, perhaps the delay was due to the band trying to find the right fit; just so all their hard work did not fall on deaf ears. They finally found that fit when they signed with Mascot Records in July 2021, leading to the announcement of the release of their debut studio album a year later in July of 2022, which would in fact not arrive until August 4th of 2023. Entitled War Within, for those who have been paying attention over the last five years, this is a very long overdue highly anticipated development. So, has the patience been worth it?

In truth, six of the eleven tracks that make up War Within have been floating around for nearly one to five years now; this includes of course “Dynamite,” “Another Life,” “Insidious,” “The Way I Say Goodbye,” “Still Sinking,” and “Calm Before the Storm” which emerged in March of this year. That said, if you look at this way, more than half of the album is instantly all killer even before you put in on. This leaves you with five additional songs that are new to your ears – “War Within,” “Cold Bones,” “Follow You,” “Ball and Chain,” and “House of Fire.” Are they just filler to the preceding singles which have amassed millions of streams in recent years? Absolutely not! Each of the songs are strong, heavy, and full of powerful emotions; this is especially the case with the title-track and “House on Fire.”

Overall, Any Given Sin’s debut album delivers in every way and proves that Hard Rock is alive and well. For argument’s sake, let us assume you have not heard of Any Given Sin before the release of War Within and you are wondering what to expect. In this case, expect vocals from Ritchie that are passionately driven like Brent Smith of Shinedown, guitars that are heavy and tight, melodies that are irresistible thanks to subtle usage of keyboards, plus lyrics that cut deep into your feelings. A band that deserves recognition, Cryptic Rock gives War Within 5 out of 5 stars.

Any Given Sin – War Within / Mascot Records (2023)
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