Wovenwar – Honor Is Dead (Metal Blade)

Genre: Metal

Born from the ashes of As I Lay Dying, Wovenwar unleashed a confident, assured debut back in 2014 that hinted that great things could be around the corner. Honor Is Dead, though, suggests we’ll be waiting a little while longer for the band to blossom.

They have moved further away from AILD’s potent metalcore – not necessarily a bad thing, and perfectly natural, especially given the presence of the talented Shane Blay on vocals. However, it’s the songs that hark back to the rest of the band’s roots – incendiary opener Confession, the rousing, fast paced 130 – which are the most engaging. To hear guitarists Nick Hipa and the now departed Phil Sgrosso in full flow is a joyful experience, and they’re on peak form here – just check out the riffs and leadwork on World on Fire if you want the evidence.

Yet much of Honor Is Dead feels saccharine, over-produced even – as if the band have lost some of their soul and raw power: the title track, although initially promising, slips into cliché, Stone’s Thrown is a plodding, disappointing slab of nu-metal and Compass sounds like a clunky attempt at an arena ballad.

So while there are a few gems to be found on Honor Is Dead, it’s not quite what we’d hoped for…