A band born out of necessity, Wovenwar came to be just one year after the release of Awakened, the last studio album from metalcore giants As I Lay Dying, who at the time were reckoning with the fallout of losing their lead singer Tim Lambesis to a six-year prison term. Also, attempting to hire a hitman to kill your estranged wife doesn't exactly sit well with fans, so the remaining members decided to move on, albeit under a different moniker and with a new vocalist, Oh, Sleeper's Shane Blay. The resulting 15-track debut trades in much of the breakdown-heavy malevolence of As I Lay Dying in favor of a more streamlined, melodic hard rock approach, which might irk some longtime fans, but it presents the instrumental section in a whole new light. Making a complete shift from scream to clean actually makes sense, especially with Blay on board, who along with bassist Josh Gilbert has always leaned toward the more sonorous side of the post-hardcore vocal spectrum. That's not to say that Wovenwar can't dish out the decibels, as evidenced by big, beefy cuts like "Death to Rights," "Profane," and "Tempest," all three of which allow guitarists Phil Sgrosso and Nick Hipa the chance to flex their considerable chops, but there's no denying that this is a much different looking (and sounding) beast than its predecessor, one that prefers soaring choruses over blackened howls and is probably better suited for modern rock radio. Taken as the debut album from an entirely new band, which it should be, Wovenwar shows great promise, even if it all feels a bit familiar.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger