On both spiritual and musical levels, Return to Life is the work of a band of believers. War of Ages adheres to the bedrock essentials of metalcore even as it extolls the majesty of the Lord with palpable desperation. The Erie, Pa.–bred band continues its combat with the forces of darkness from the first song to the last, with the gentle acoustic interlude “M.E.B.” providing a break from the ongoing ferocity. On tracks like “Fallen Idol” and “With Honor,” frontman Leroy Hamp charges headlong toward explosive choruses like a man on fire, spurred by Steve Brown’s lacerating riffage. More than most of its peers, WOR avoids getting lost in gothic fantasy metaphors in favor of capturing Biblical themes in visceral terms. “Song of Solomon” and “Psalms” are prayerful expressions of unyielding faith in the face of a hostile, sin-drenched world. While embodying the violence of spiritual struggle in its music, the band builds toward an ultimate escape from oppression in the closing tune, “Unite.” Christian metalcore rarely comes as undiluted—and clearsighted—as it does on these blistering tracks.