I Am War – Outlive You All – Review

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This world is home to so many great team ups over the years; Lebron and D. Wade (Bosh is a scrub), Chocolate and Peanut Butter, and of course its latest addition, I Am War. The act is the brain child of Atreyu vocalist Alex Varkatzas and Bleeding Through lead singer Brandan Schieppati, one that I was very anxious to hear because of how limp and hard rock Atreyu‘s sound had become over the last few years and how the technical death metal of recent Bleeding Through could influence and bolster the aforementioned weak music. The result is the duo’s new full-length “Outlive You All” which sports thirteen short blasts of bludgeoning bliss.
Essentially the side project is a return to the thrash hardcore basics where both vocalists made their starts (ie. early-era Atreyu, Eighteen Visions) with a splash of Bleeding Through to keep the punk listeners away. From the start of this record, the circle pit-forming song “Don’t Worship Assholes” begins this effort’s trend of having no song longer than 2 minutes and 45 seconds, with a full compliment of blast-beats, pummeling bass, and menacing down-tuned chugs. Instrumentally, ”Outlive You All” walks the line between technical precision and brute force with swift exchanges of fastidious galloping chugs and blazing percussion. What stands out most however (obviously) is the front-and-center vocal chemistry of Alex and Brandan that haven’t sounded so savage and throaty since “The Curse” and “This Is Love This Is Murderous.” Their seudo-intellectual purpose-driven lyrics that Alex is known for show up prominently and with a wide range of emotion, such as those in “A Nightmare” ie. “For now, forever and always, you are painted white in my dreams. You are the savior that pulls me back, you are my light when all goes black. You are the morning dawn on the darkest night, and you are all I need to be right” and in the depressing introspective track “My Love Affair With Disaster, “I can’t live that way anymore, depressed by what I love. I can’t live that way anymore, loving what makes me depressed. A never ending disaster, a love affair with evil symphony.

A bit of criticism can be found in the blistering riffage that often smears into a chugging frenzy which can lose listeners who aren’t a fan of thrashy hardcore. But the unmercifully heavy tunes like “Plug Me In,” the ironically-titiled “Nihilistic Motivation,” and the just-plain-sad titled song “Uninvite Me To Your Facebook Party” balance that out by keeping you amped up and off of your judgmental thoughts of sloppy hardcore. The vocals can do similar things and sludge together as you reach the end of this fairly short effort (~26 minutes) but fans of both singers previous bands will find little problem with this.

I Am War is a shot in the collective hardcore arm, from some of the most signature vocalists in the genre today. Alex and Brandan (who is way too jacked to be in any band) unleash the brutal tendencies they might have been keeping hidden for fear of losing mass appeal (this is more a shot at Alex but whatever) and create an effort with all of the correct formulas for making a great hardcore album; serious chugging, savage percussion, anthem shouts, short and fierce tracks, and last but certainly not least, a set of punishing and commanding vocals. Sometimes going back to the basics is exactly what an artist needs to revive the creative flow; “Outlive You All” has done that and given us a wonderfully heavy effort to spin during the fall. [Staff]

Score: 3.75 (out of 5)

Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Record Label: Razor & Tie Records
Genre: Hardcore
RIYL: Atreyu, Bleeding Through

Track Listing:
1. Don’t Worship Assholes
2. Uninvite Me to Your Facebook Party
3. The Poisoning
4. Plug Me In
5. Bat Out Of Hell
6. Hunting Me
7. Chipped Shoulders and Heart Attacks
8. I Don’t Know Anything
9. A Nightmare
10. Lead By Liars
11. My Love Affair with Disaster
12. Nihilistic Motivation
13. Feel the Same

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