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WEAPONS OF ANEW The Collision Of Love And Hate

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 @ 9:53 AM


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WEAPONS OF ANEW
The Collision Of Love And Hate

OK Good Records




Not many bands can claim a lineup and associates as diverse as newish New York/New Jersey-area quintet WEAPONS OF ANEW, or WOA. Members of the band hail from such as acts as thrashers HAVOCHATE, one-time glam rockers SPREAD EAGLE and melodic death metallers DARKEST HOUR. Producer James Murphy is a veteran of DEATH, OBITUARY and TESTAMENT and the band boast the incomparable balladeer ENGLEBERT HUMPERDINCK as a labelmate. No lie.

Yet, oddly enough, WOA sound like none of the above. The band's debut album has a decidedly modern rock/groove metal sound with nary a ballad to be found – sorry HUMPERDINCK fans – although the mellow/crunchy back and forth and earnest theme of “This Moment” does come close. The bulk of The Collision Of Love And Hate, though, is built around ex-HAVOCHATE guitarist Freddy Ordine's resounding hooks and the hulking rhythms of bassist Stefan “Reno” Cutrupi and drummer Chris Manfre.

The material here is meaty and catchy in equal measures, with Murphy's bold, resonant production all but guaranteeing maximum impact. At the same time, it's studiously anthemic construction and delivery has a rather familiar feel, which should easily connect with fans of DISTURBED, BREAKING BENJAMIN, SHINEDOWN, 10 YEARS, ALTER BRIDGE, etc., yet perhaps be quickly dismissed by those who aren't.

I almost made that mistake. But there's more going on here than just your average “butt rock,” and that becomes apparent with additional spins. While the band's approach may seem calculating, its flair for muscular, engaging melodies is undeniable, and it's all but impossible to not bob your head along to any of the eight tracks here.

And WOA doesn't get swept up in the over-emotiveness/angst of many of its brothers in arms. West, who also fronts the still-active SPREAD EAGLE, gives a dynamite performance behind the mic here, offering lyricism, grit and tenacity with just the right blend, just as his bandmates have the tact to not grind you down trying to pound it all home. The knuckle-dragging “Sundown” is really the lone exception, but is thankfully the album's shortest song and is followed by the buoyant, borderline speed metal of “Brave”, thus posing only a minor annoyance.

Norris came onboard only recently, so Ordine apparently handled all the guitar work here. But with nifty harmony guitar lines already built-in throughout, it will be interesting to see where these guys can take it going forward – provided Norris isn't merely a placeholder/fill-in as he has been in a number of bands already. A bit more technicality and a true tandem-guitar attack could really take WOA to the next level. As it is, the band is off to a reasonably solid start with The Collision Of Love And Hate. The album has enough going for it to overcome its shortcomings and give WOA its own little spot of turf on an already crowded playing field.

3.0 Out Of 5.0


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