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Rising from the ashes of the As I Lay Dying’s tragic demise, Wovenwar veers away from metalcore’s harsher side towards a more melodic approach that favors clean vocals and thoughtfully spiritual lyrics. Ex-Oh, Sleeper singer Shane Blay displays a moody gravitas on the band’s self-titled debut, ably supported by the heavy yet dexterous fretwork of Phil Sgrosso and Nike Hipa. The album moves from the darkly seething “Foreward” into the ferociously propulsive “All Rise” before soaring into the balladry of “Tempest.” Abrasive outbursts (“The Mason”), atmospheric pieces (“Father/Son”) and grandly orchestrated numbers (“Onward”) speak to the group’s collective ambition.

Customer Reviews

A Greater Foundation

Ironically enough, the bandmates’ previous endeavor featured a song that would almost eerily predict future events of band members: Phil, Nick, Josh, and Jordan. Since there’s no getting away from talking about the prior giant of a band, I might as well talk about that first. As I Lay Dying, one of the metalcore gods (I don’t use that term lightly). In an oversaturated and underestimated genre, the masterful musicians in As I Lay Dying kept improving and making music that defined said genre, but never defined themselves. While many small bands came and went, As I Lay Dying, with only a handful of others, survived the metaphorical “metalcore purge” following its loss in popularity and talents after hitting the late 2000s. This band seemed to have everything going for them until its founding member dismantled his life and with it shattered the lives of his closest friends. He made a mistake…many mistakes… and this loss of character from the once noble and lovable Lambesis was heartbreaking for the people who knew him prior to this transformation. Some radical fans even supported the man’s criminal acts and made comments on how they wish someone was murdered because “she was probably a b**** and deserved it”. Then you have Lambesis himself slandering his bandmates to paint himself in a nicer light before prison; with this, you get more Lambesis supporters and more hate against his fellow bandmates who did nothing wrong. I do not condemn him, nor support him, but it is important you know what the band has against them, and the hate they’ve had to endure from emotionally disturbed “fans” of their previous band. “Sometimes we have to watch our whole lives fall apart, before we can rebuild them again.”
Josh, Nick, Phil, & Jordan immediately decided to start a new band with a new name following the arrest of Lambesis. Thus, Wovenwar was born (Originally Wovenhearts, but that wasn’t metal enough). At first fans suspected Josh to be taking over all lead vocals, but it was later revealed they added a new bandmate to the formula. Shane Blay of Oh Sleeper was a longtime friend of Nick Hipa and the rest of the band, so it was a no brainer to recruit this talented guy. Now with 3 guitarists and 2 vocalists, the band sought to explore things they never had the luxury of exploring before. With this comes one of the best and freshest releases this past year.
Wovenwar musically, is still what you’d expect to hear from the guys. It’s very similar to metalcore. There are many instances on the album where I’m sitting there listening, and I’m thinking “Wow that is such a Judas Priest moment”, or an Iron Maiden moment, and some moments akin to Pantera. It has aspects of music from the many kings of Heavy Metal. It also contains aspects of music that I consider comparable to TesseracT or Animals as leaders. With this change in sound, and a primarily clean vocal presence, it’s sure to off-put the fans of the original band who were more fans of hardcore than metal. Despite all these changes, there are still a sizeable number of metalcore-esc riffs and some interesting breakdowns. What it loses in brutality, it gains in dynamics and diversity. The songs are very varied; they are an exploration of what the members were unable to do for years because of genre constraint. These are songs from guys who have been through a lot and these tracks have passion and suffering interlaced in every aspect of their album.
The mixing on this album is great and the sharing of vocal duties between Josh and Shay really sounds incredible with some quality speakers or cans; shane’s usually smooth vocals compliment josh’s sometimes more abrasive and aggressive cleans. And for those that are afraid there will be no harsh vocals, they are spread across the album. I think this is something that can appeal to almost anyone. The lyrics hit home and the songs are heavy, but accessible to people who usually don’t listen to heavier genres. Plus, you get the treat of hearing the other-worldly acoustic segments on this album. Believe me when I tell you Shane’s falsetto is one of the smoothest in the genre.

Sweeping from melodic, to heavy, to technical, to bombastic, to everything you’d expect from a talented group of guys and more! Give this a listen from start to finish and you’ll definitely hear something new you’ve never quite heard. It’s touching on new territory, but I can easily see Wovenwar truly dominating their field by the 2nd album. Much like the masterful Mastodon releases a different style album every time and still makes it theirs and loved by all, I believe Wovenwar shares the same magic. They just need to explore the music a bit more, get more experimental and really weave a band that stands apart from “Awakened with clean vocals”; also, I’d love to see them make something more intricate with 3 guitarists. Shane and Josh could potentially split vocal duties a bit more evenly if Shane gets more involved with playing than they’ve set up on this record. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

I give this an album a 5/5. For clean vocal metal, Once More ‘Round The Sun is the only other recent album I’m willing to rate as highly.


This is 100% my speed. Its got the hard and fast riffs and the awesome drum beats of heavy metal without the hardcore screaming. I like that every now and then mixed in but not the whole song. These two singles so far are amazing! I look forward to the rest of the album!!!


After everything that happened with AILD I'm really glad these guys could come back and give us such awesome new material. First two songs are amazing, can't wait for the release.


Formed: 2013 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '10s

Formed in 2013 by the instrumental section of metalcore giants As I Lay Dying after that group's lead singer, Tim Lambesis, was sentenced to six years in prison for attempting to enlist a hit man to off his estranged wife, San Diego-based hard rock quintet Wovenwar feature the talents of AILD alumni Nick Hipa (guitar), Phil Sgrosso (guitar), Josh Gilbert (bass), Jordan Mancino (drums), and Oh, Sleeper vocalist Shane Blay (lead vocals, guitar). Ditching the screamo vocals that dominated AILD in favor...
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Wovenwar, Wovenwar
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