Before we begin
A rumor of war (AROW) is a six piece metalcore band hailing from Louisville, Kentucky. The band consist of Jakup Crenshaw on vocals and guitar, Kristian Kemker on vocals, Josh Hertle on guitar, Austin Smith on bass, and Forest Kelly on drums. The band released their debut self titled ep in December of twenty fifteen and since then have played numerous shows and have started the process of creating their next release. As a disclaimer I personally have deep ties to this band. This band was the catalyst to my interest and love for local music. I also consider the members of this band to be friends so it’ll be difficult for me to maintain my neutrality during this review but I will attempt to do so.
Track by track
Track 1 – Ride 04:11
This track opens with pounding drums that are then accompanied by a distorted guitar which lead up to Kristen’s monstrous vocals. But then quickly we begin to notice some flaws. Lyrically this song feels as if its going for something deep and personal but it just comes off as unfocused and disjointed and musically we hea exactly what you would expect from a metalcore band and that’s not necessarily a bad thing but it is kinda boring. Then we make it to the chorus where we begin to see some promise while Jakups vocal performance isn’t the most powerful or crisp it is catchy as hell and a massive benefit to this track. Then it returns to the verse where Kristan’s vocal performance is brutal and monstrous but sadly its underutilized because the lyrics and song itself simply aren’t strong enough. But the song does have one really fantastic part at just over three minutes in a rap like rythem begins and Kristan’s Superior breathing really does cone in to play delivering words at a blistering pace all without losing power.
Overall rating – 4/10
Track 2 – bruises 03:25
Now this is where we start to see this band regain their footing. Lyrically it takes a gigantic steep forward discussing domestic abuse from a man who is being abused point of view. Musically we see the band become more catchy slowly breaking themselves out of the genetic metalcore mold but not fully. The chorus does fall flat tho Jakups vocals feel overpowered and drowned out by the rest of the song. And sadly closer to the end of the song musically it does begin to return the traditional metalcore sound which quickly become repetitive.
Overall rating – 6.5/10
Track 3 – No Legacy 04:22
This is the bands bread and butter and the bands oldest song. Lyrically we see the band become more concise and effective with their delivery. Opening with an entrancing piano which is one of the most catchy piano parts ever and it really is what makes this song stand out. This is accompanied by an equally catchy rap by Jakup introducing the concept and main lyrical ideas of the song.The guitar is also just as haunting and alluring. All of that matched with Kristen’s tortured vocals create a killer jam. But it’s not perfect the clean vocals in the middle of the song are again drowned out by the rest of this tantalizing track.
Overall rating – 8.5/10
Track 4 – misconceptions 04:36
This track is a diamond on the rough. The beginning of this song is the weakest part of this song beginning with a harsh vocal delivery that couldn’ve been really interesting with more layers and depth. Instead it comes off as boring and lyrically the beginning is borderline lazy such as “I’ll never let my colors show you can suck my d””’ and know” it’s just underwhelming because we’ve seen what this band is capable of lyrically before. But almost all of these problems are quickly addressed when this song turns into something refreshing. By letting Jakup take center stage it creates something we haven’t seen from this band before. Creating an anthem for the disenfranchised this persist for almost the entire remainder of the song. But the breakdown that occurs is nothing to ignore it’s the heaviest moment on the record and also a rare instance of Kristan experimenting with a higher range and it pays off in full.
Overall rating 6.5/10
Track 5 – Kilher 02:48
This is the shortest track on the record thankfully because it’s also the most boring. The track is metalcore to a T and that is it. But moot everything about this is negative vocally Kristen still sounds monstrous and there are some really detailed guitar parts that show the amount of skill these musicians possess but they are so underutilized in this track
Overall rating – 3/10
This record was produced by Eric Troutman nearly two years ago and is in no way a reflection of his current abilities you can check out Everest studios for examples of some of his newer work. With that out the way the production on this is very lack luster a lot of the tracks are muddy and feel as if they were recorded on subpar equipment. This is a huge problem for this record and greatly diminished this records overall score.
Overall score – 2.5/10
The artwork created by Chandler Pierce is a perfect fit for this band as a hole. Its unique and eye catching and invites listeners to give this record a chance.
Overall rating – 10/10
This record is a nice teaser of what this band is capable of. It isn’t jaw dropping by any means but it shows so much potential. And levees me beyond excited for new material from these guys.
Final Score – 5.5/10
Least favorite tracks
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