wars - 'As Within /// So Without' EP review
wars explore the concept of inner-struggle across these four explosive tracks in innovative and exciting fashion.
Replay Value8.1
7.9Overall Score
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Keen to get things underway with their life on A Wolf At Your Door Records, the Rugby based band wars have begun 2019 strong with their new four-track EP As Within /// So Without.

Tackling inner conflict is the theme of the EP, and the band do this well by presenting tracks as an audible expression of such conflict, as swathes of rash aggression that dominate the verses are balanced and calmed by the restorative and soothing choruses for the most part. “’As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…’ is a quote from Hermes, the Greek god of transitions and travel, Principle of Correspondence and is one of seven principles which make up a sort of guide to a more meaningful life,” frontman Rob Vicars explains, in reference to the moniker. The four tracks of the EP while not expansive provide enough space for the band to alter exactly how the concept fits each track, without risking making them overly repetitive.

Scorn and Fidelity begins things with a lively riff and drum pattern that vocalist Rob Vicars growls over in a lurking fashion before passing the mic to Sam Bernard for the complimentary clean vocals of the chorus. Lyrics such as “there’s no sun, without shadow” present the concept of As Within /// So Without, eliciting how balance is necessary in life and therefore good always comes with some bad. This struggle of inner conflict is evoked in the erratic and intense sound wars have cultivated as the EP tasks itself with transposing the torment, and back and forth people feel when fighting within oneself mentally into a beatable obstacle and a motivational collection of tracks.

The juxtaposition of aggression and melody both in the sound of the project, and it’s overarching theme, acts as the defining blueprint of the project. Through this, wars create a real sense of intensity in each track eliciting just how intense and tough it can feel when there is a war waging inside yourself, being pulled in both directions.

Little Death is the lead single that was released a few months prior to the EP. The way this track is structured furthers the groundwork of Scorn and Fidelity as the conflicted mentality of being at odds with yourself is splayed out on a greater scale, with a lengthier section of aggressive turbulence leading to a calming and restorative chorus. The elongated periods of aggression relay a tougher struggle, perhaps poorer odds against the situation and yet the calm sweeps in more emphatically reflecting how things can always be turned around, and to great effect.

On Being More spools up frenetically to the prime breakdown of the project, representative of progress being made or potentially tensions spilling over gruesomely. The most notable, gang-chanted lyrics that lead one into the breakdown (that will make for one hell of a moment at a live show) of “I have met the enemy, it lives inside of me” – convey getting closer to a place of resolution within oneself.

Concluding the concise project, In a Mirror, Dimly summarises how “we stare into mirrors” for the answers desired about such inner conflict and ends the project in a seething ball of angst and frustration, just as it began. The steely guitar lick rings in a sense of urgency fitting of a final track and ensues the EP finishes on a strong foot.

All in all, wars provide plenty of evidence of the evolution they have already undergone since the release of debut album We Are Islands, After All in 2017 on As Within /// So Without and ramp up excitement for their future.

As Within /// So Without is out everywhere now via A Wolf At Your Door Records.

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