A War Within‘s sophomore release, Believe, makes the job of writing a review very difficult. When you’re looking for genuinely enjoyable and solid metalcore tracks, songs like “Primrose Path” and “We Are Legion” are definitely right up your alley. But “A New Hope” and “Slave” are prime examples of why there is a hung jury in my head constantly in need of more Chinese takeout to try and come to an accurate conclusion.
“A New Hope” starts off with an alluring electronic intro coupled with a mosh-inducing guitar riff. However, it’s immediately followed up with a weirdly dissonant and ethereal set of vocals that momentarily throw the song off course before it jumps back into classic metalcore screams. Similarly, “Slave” starts off with mediocre soft clean vocals that make the hairs on the back of your neck start to stand up, but then offers a really catchy yet sincere sounding chorus that crescendos into an electrifying ending. The whole record kind of falls into this pattern of “Awesome”, “Wait what?” and then “Okay, cool…”. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Who knows. But it’s got you listening to it over and over again to try and figure it out.
Regardless of the constant push and pull that Believe produces, it’s clear and admirable that A War Within have endeavored to take some risks to change up an otherwise standard metalcore sound. “No Matter What” even leans more toward alternative rock with some Tyler Carter-esque vocal rhythms and then throws a guitar solo in the mix as well. What starts off as a headstrong metalcore record with “Promises” ends in a melodic and calming way with “The Hunter and The Lion.” It may be confusing at times, but Believe is definitely an album to have on your radar.