It would seem Fearless Records is having some kind of effect on Wage War in their progression, because the sound of Pressure feels more at home with their label’s roster than Deadweight did two years prior.
Melody and clean vocals have taken a large step forward over breakdowns and screams, making for a more approachable metalcore collection. The heavier stuff is still there, but in smaller doses. Luckily for the band, this shift in balance works quite well, as long as you don’t have something against melody (and surely there will be fans who will gripe about it).
“Grave” is the first standout track, its verses bleeding attitude and its chorus boasting a contagious set of group vocals to get you singing along. Both “Me Against Myself” and “Will We Ever Learn” take that smoothness to another level with structures and harmonies that could land the band on mainstream radio, while “Forget My Name” attempts the same for the hard rock generation without Linkin Park’s Meteora in their blood.
Lastly, the heaviest moments of the record fall upon “Low” and “Fury,” both outstanding examples of the band’s growth since the writing of Deadweight; they’ve got the brutal moments down, while turning Wage War up to 10 in the process.
Compared to their last release, Pressure is a more memorable and impressionable record. Though there will be fans that dislike the focus shift in singing over screaming (and melodies over breakdowns), the transition sounds natural and almost necessary. Whatever your preference, it will hard to deny that the band has enhanced their skills since Deadweight, and that’s what’s really important here.