In 2012, these Atlanta-based metal warriors touched on their most commercially successful album release in the shape of Sins and Bones. Naturally therefore, some pressure and expectation surely lurks in the backdrop as they unveil their follow-up.
Joining main brain Chris Jericho on vocals is the same line-up consisting of Rich Ward, Paul Di Leo, Frank Fontsere and Billy Grey; plus just like the formula that brought the band those glories with Sins and Bones, you get a couple of extra guests dotted here and there on Do You Wanna Start a War. On a chart of cool alliances, the previous album charted high with the inclusion of M Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold and Phil Campbell of Motörhead.
Mike Starr from comedic parody act Steel Panther pops up on Tonight this time around, plus a really strong performance from Christie Cook lifts Unstoppable to dizzy heights. Apart from first single Lights Go Out, the quiet-loud Scarecrow and bruiser Bad Tattoo, this album feels like it’s trying too hard. Their rendition of ABBA’s SOS is enough to bring you to tears.
Died with You offers the listener a tranquil moment slotting in at song number four. “The best part of me died with you” croons Jericho as he reaches out with an aching heart. It’s okay, but for a band with a metal reputation it may not be greeted too readily by the hardcore contingent. Elsewhere, Tonight is heavy on the cheese and No Good Way tries to raise some life in another track resembling an Ozzy Osbourne solo career leftover.
Witchery and One Crazed Anarchist both shine with an edgier approach, but yet they feel somewhat stifled by a lack of real imagination or innovation. If the band shared thoughts of being tired as they approached the recording sessions for this album, or explained they were keen to capitalize on the success of the preceding album, it would make sense on what can be heard on Do You Wanna Start a War.
You wouldn’t want to start a war with these guys on this sort of form; you never know what they’d do! It is an album that has some good music in places, but you’d better be ready to pick and choose.