November 12, 2021 Wage War – Manic (Album Review)
Metalcore giants Wage War are back with their latest feat Manic, released on Friday, October 1, 2021 through Fearless Records. A follow up to 2019’s Pressure, Manic encompasses all of the turmoil the band experienced within the last year and the feelings associated with it. With the industry under fire due to the pandemic, the Florida quintet used that time to create an album that forged a combination of jarring hooks and gnashing riffs to unleash to the world.
With the music scene on hold, Wage War worked to strengthen their creative bond, pairing their already unique sound with the use of soaring melodies, electronic fits, and striking grooves to encapsulate their past, present and future into one cohesive statement. The album touches on everything from personal struggles, relationships, and everything in-between. “Manic encompasses everything we’ve gone through as musicians in the last year-and-a-half,” said Stephen Kluesener (drums). “The whole industry halted, and we technically lost our jobs. Our scene was among the first to leave and the last to come back. The album captures the whole period. That’s how I’d describe Manic.”
Looking back, with the success of gems like 2015’s Blueprints and 2017’s Deadweight, Wage War built a diehard fanbase. Then, when the aforementioned Pressure dropped in 2019, it immediately exploded, racking up millions of streams and critical acclaim. The album was also a turning point for the group as they took risks that resulted in paying off beautifully. According to the band, Manic represents the apex of an intense and creative journey, their dedication to growing and challenging themselves while staying true to their roots.
All this in mind, Manic is definitely not without its standout tracks and the lead single “High Horse” was the perfect introduction for the new material. It is uncompromising, hard-hitting, and one that is bound to be crow favorite during tour. Another standout track, “Teeth,” absolutely kills with its glitchy production and razor-sharp riffs. It is a cocktail of violent whispering, eerie harmonics with a hook about being leeched on by a friend that takes what they want before ditching you completely.
Moving on, the titular track “Manic” introduces a stellar trap production and icy electronic darkness. Then we get a glimpse of classic Wage War with “Godspeed,” a slick breakdown with a solid melody that touches on the whirlwind they have recently experienced. Lastly, the closing track “If Tomorrow Never Comes” wraps things up in a nice and tight bow. It is a great representation of the band’s musicality and drive, taking everything that makes Wage War what it is and shoving it down your throat.
Overall, Manic is a shining representation of Wage War has to offer. Not only does it show how far they have come since the beginning of their journey, but it shows just how much further they are bound to go. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Manic 4 out of 5 stars.