On their third album, Attack Attack! strip down their sound and focus on heaviness, making This Means War their hardest hitting and most coherent record to date. The album finds them dealing with a lot of new territory at once: it's their first album without guitarist and clean vocalist Johnny Franck, and their first full-length album without Joey Sturgis at the helm in the studio. With singer and keyboardist Caleb Shomo filling in on both production and clean vocals, it would seem inevitable that the band would fall further down a synth rabbit hole, but instead it's quite the opposite. This Means War finds them coping with the changes with a less gimmicky, more visceral sound that's dominated by massively detuned guitars and relatively light production. By not trying to force an evolution, Attack Attack! have managed to actually push their sound in a new and interesting direction. With all of the baffling production flourishes stripped away, the band's raw energy is actually able to come through the music, and while the sound is still highly polished in the Rise/Sumerian Records tradition, a lot of feeling is actually able to shine through. Though there's a chance these changes will alienate longtime fans, this heavier, more muscular approach to songwriting will definitely surprise anyone who had dismissed them as a novelty act. While this may not make instant fans out of their haters, This Means War will certainly give them something to consider.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney