Album review: Wage War – Stigma

Florida metalcore mob Wage War continue to excel with bold fifth LP, STIGMA…

Album review: Wage War – Stigma
Jake Richardson

Fourteen years and now five albums into the game, Wage War have steadily morphed into a very reliable band. Hitting a career high with 2021’s potent Manic, the five-piece – led by the dominant presence of frontman Briton Bond – return three years later with another album that sees them taking strides forward. Wage War, and Briton in particular, have never sounded so assured and assertive as they do here.

The ominous, atmospheric dancehall vibes of opener THE SHOW’S ABOUT TO START quickly give way to the chunky riffs of guitarists Cody Quistad and Seth Blake, and from there on out, the band deliver 10 tracks of unrelenting metalcore might. SELF-SACRIFICE – complete with formidable vocals and some sharp, stabbing guitars – sounds huge, while TOMBSTONE offers some similarly imposing sonic chaos.

The undeniable stomp of heavy floor-filler HAPPY HUNTING recalls the danceable vibes of Stigma’s opening, and so too does this album offer some of their best choruses yet. The riffy IN MY BLOOD take flight thanks to some massive gang vocals, but the pick of the bunch is MAGNETIC, whose ‘You and me are always gonna be magnetic’ chorus is its creators’ biggest and poppiest to date. Thankfully, these more accessible moments are not so squeaky-clean as to be off-putting, with the flashes of pure melody coming in service of the songs themselves, rather than some obvious grasp at a rock radio hit.

The result is an impressive piece of work – arguably Wage War’s strongest ever – and one which ensures the only stigma they’ll be labelled with is that of being one of the current metalcore scene’s best bands.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: The Amity Affliction, Polaris, Silent Planet

STIGMA is released June 21 via Fearless

Read this: Wage War: “There’s nothing better than seeing your fans connect to music you feel proud to have made”

Check out more:

Now read these

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?