War On Women Web Sleeve

Album Review: War On Women – Wonderful Hell

U.S. punks War On Women intensify the good fight on the brilliant Wonderful Hell…

Going for the jugular, War On Women open this second album with Aqua Tofana; a substance created by Giulia Tofana in the 17th Century to aid women in poisoning their abusive husbands. The Baltimore feminist punks aren’t so much hinting at their point as they are beating you to death with it. Spewing anger and vitriol, vocalist Shawna Potter rages against the capitalist patriarchy, every song a damning political stand against the social injustices currently running rampant the world over.

For a hardcore punk band, War On Women’s guitars are much more carefully considered than the frenzied maelstrom you might expect; chugging away in the background to allow for the vocals to clearly portray their message, which is occasionally punctuated by a pointed riff and crashing cascades of percussion. While Wonderful Hell is fury fuelled and hard hitting, it also carries with it a catchiness that makes it strangely accessible. Without crossing over into the territory of becoming cheesy, there is something about songs such as Big Words that feel anthemic. 

It’s this Trojan horse of wider appeal that will allow for War On Women to exact real and positive change. Their fight for women’s rights isn’t limited to just their albums – on 2017’s Warped Tour they ran daily workshops on bystander intervention and safe spaces – and it’s this passion that makes their music all the more compelling. The rawness, grit and tenacity is prevalent from beginning to end here, making for a genuinely exhilarating listen. Whether you like your music political or not, there’s no denying that War On Women are currently one of the most interesting punk bands around. Girls invented punk rock, not England.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: Propagandhi, Turnstile, Bikini Kill

Wonderful Hell is out now via Bridge Nine.

READ THIS: Bikini Kill, riot grrrl and the enduring legacy of Kathleen Hanna

Posted on October 30th 2020, 11:28a.m.
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