- Until The Break Of Day
- The Light In Your Eyes
- The Sound Of Nothing
For anyone who may have (somehow) missed them previously, 12 Stones has been together for more than 20 years now, playing an aggressive-yet-melodic form of modern radio rock that has spawned five albums and now two EPs, with 15 singles released to radio, and multiple songs have been used by the WWE. NHL, MLB, NASCAR, and several movie soundtracks. In fact, during their first decade, it was pretty hard to avoid 12 Stones, as they were seemingly all over the place, with all of their album releases (12 Stones, Potter's Field, Anthem For The Underdog, Beneath The Scars, and the The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday EP) charting in Billboard's Top 200 and all but Anthem For The Underdog charting in the Billboard Top Christian Album's Top 10. Things slowed down with the band taking a five year recording hiatus...although they still played live shows...returning in 2017 with Picture Perfect, and then again with this latest effort in late 2020. Since their beginning as a band in 2000, both McCoy and Weaver have been the foundation of the band, with a revolving cast of musicians joining the founding duo. Drummer Dunaway has been rock solid with the band since 2014, however, so the current version of the line-up has nearly 8 years of chemistry behind them as the band works their way into their third decade as a group.
The production here is really good, with the re-mixing/re-mastering beefing up the sound and eliminating nearly all of the "demo" feel of the songs here. Kudos to Eonian for putting together yet another solid release of an unknown that is likely to spark a lot of interest from fans who remember the band from back in the day, and from fans of the scene and genre, in general. If you are one of the numerous collectors that are continually looking to bolster their catalog of well-produced unknowns, make sure you add Mad Anthony to your shopping list! I'm sure you won't be disappointed if the rare and unknown is your thing!
Rating: Rock this to 6.5, with tracks three through seven nearly pushing this nice collection into crankable territory.
The other two tracks here are, as of yet, unreleased. "Pyrite" is another all-out-angry crushfest, with some of the most interesting drum patterns on the EP, and an absolutely frantic-yet-melodic guitar line running through the pre-chorus sections. Make no mistake, the jackhammer rhythm guitars and absolutely devastating drums (do I detect some blast beats in one brief section?!) set a tempo that threatens to launch the track right out of your speaker....until a sudden tempo and stylistic shift turn the song completely on its ear for about 40 seconds as a gorgeous, soulful guitar solo threads its way through the darkness that Hamp's throaty death growls delivers. There is a LOT going on here, and I suspect fans of As I Lay Dying are going to find themselves hitting repeat, well, repeatedly on this one.
"Unspoken" sets the listener back on his/her heels immediately with the bluesy, jazzy style of guitars that intro the song. Not kidding, I thought that somehow the preview tracks I was sent got mislabeled somehow by my computer, as those first 15 to 20 seconds are completely out of left field. However, once the melodic clean vocals hit with a hint of what is to come on the chorus, my brain rights itself and is instantly sucked into this more mid-tempo metal assault. Tempo-wise, this track treads very similar ground to what Fit For A King has done on its last couple of albums, although I have to say the solo guitar work here...along with Luebchow's absolutely insane drum work...set War Of Ages apart from their metalcore counterparts.
How this band has not become more well-known is beyond me. Hamp and Brown have been hammering away at your eardrums and skulls as War Of Ages for nearly two decades now, and every release has been a blistering, sonic assault on the senses. With the addition of Daniels in 2013, the band stepped things up even further, and with a full line-up that has been in place for four years, there is a chemistry that is undeniable on the last two albums and now this new EP. Will Rhema be the step that launches the band into the realms of the metalcore elite? There are 16 minutes and two seconds of melodic metalcore fury and aggression on Rhema that say it may just be the ticket. If not, stay tuned, as I have no doubt that War Of Ages has even more to crush you with in the near future!
Available digitally, on a limited edition vinyl, and CD, snag Rhema today at www.warofagesmetal.com and maybe schedule an oil change during which you can absorb the melodic ferocity of this EP!
Rating: Short, to be sure, but blisteringly crankable! Spin this up to an 8, with two or three more songs likely pushing this into 9, or higher, territory! Get it now, metalcore fans!