Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
We are always at war, a permanent state in which our minds are odds with society, with each other and within ourselves, the moment in which someone forgets you exist, the time in which we stood alone because snide remarks in ears won through…all these instances play out and the war in our head rages, yet for all that we put our best smiles on and face the world with subterfuge, for as Wars is at pains to point out, We Are Islands After All.
It is the sense of isolation, of being crammed so tight against each other but feeling the loss of both identity and togetherness, that finds itself in the words of Wars. That isolation, even in the biggest most encased crowd, can feel sickening, it can tear a person apart to feel excluded from society and whilst there might be the odd case in which a person seemingly thrives, in the background their minds have to push down the feeling of remoteness and the sense of insecurity that goes hand in hand with it.
We Are Islands After All joins in with that sense of loss, the hard hitting lyrics crowd the thoughts of the listener as if it was a web, a mask in which to be hidden by has descended across the face of those with tears in their eyes and the hope of being included dashed with innocence lost.
The album is strong, focused and balanced, the screams of those awaiting judgement tempered by the friction of the instruments. In songs such as Snows and Skies, That By Discord Things Increase, Sciamachy Scenes and Hailing Distance the sound of power rages, the buzz of the metal is engorged and hungry, the disharmony a welcome flag of anger which pulses beyond the natural state of war; this is a cruise missile of an album, one which splits the senses in tow and which cannot be avoided.
War comes; conflict is always in the news and combat always in vogue, only Wars finds a way to bring peace.
Ian D. Hall