Artist: I Am War
Album: Outlive You All
Genre: Metallic Hardcore
Simply put, I am War is a band that should’ve happened a long time ago. This could be said to describe the band’s sound itself (hardcore) or even to address the fact that it’s a shame that the two-piece couldn’t have come together any sooner. I Am War is a band that plays simple, no-frills hardcore and they’re bound to win over droves of rabid fans through doing so.
The band’s lineup consists of only Alex Varkatzas of Atreyu and Brandan Schieppati of Bleeding Through. Sure, genre-nazis are pretty likely to say that both of the bands are very different one another. Somehow both of these musicians have pulled off the collaboration quite well considering their abilities – with Varkatzas handling vocals and Schieppati behind guitars, bass, and backing vocals.
Upon my first listen through, it felt like the record just flew by me, and that’s because it’s a short one. The album runs just shy of 30 minutes with not one of it’s fifteen tracks lasting more than 3 minutes. I suppose that’s the aim of a hardcore band: to make fast, angry music that people could have some fun to. To show how brutal this album really is, it’s said that both of the musicians wrote it working full time as personal fitness trainers, and that gang vocals were done with collaboration from former MMA Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett.
There are some moments where it feels like the album carries on, but it never actually seems to become boring for more than a few songs or two. It doesn’t help that the group really doesn’t break any new ground with this debut; they just do what they do quite well. The album starts off with “Don’t Worship Assholes”, a song that was probably written with the intentions of being the album opener. “The Poisoning” is energetic hard music at it’s finest. “My Love Affair With Disaster” is one of the heavier sounding songs with it’s ridiculous low end that’s present in the guitars. “A Nightmare” left me in chills upon my first listen, and I still feel those very same chills to this day. It feels that the record could’ve ended less abruptly than how it did with “Feel the Same”, fade out’s are good and great, but sometimes people need more substance.
Sonically, I am War’s sound lies somewhere between Atreyu’s shrillness and Bleeding Through’s heaviness. Bleeding Through fans are more likely to be turned onto this record than Atreyu fans, but fans of Varkatzas’ vocal work could be pretty intrigued with the difference between the two projects. I don’t want to put this band on any sort of a pedestal, but I can tell that I Am War could very well be a hardcore band’s hardcore band. I dare you to listen to 5-7 minutes of Outlive You All and not get into it, even if it’s only for those 5-7 minutes and nothing more.
Review written by Adrian Garza