Politically-charged, poignant, and powerful, War On Women’s latest is equally their most ferocious and most important album to date. There are records you turn on and within barely thirty seconds you can tell they’re just magic like Wonderful Hell which is sonically transcendent of anything War On Women has done so far matched by the pointed words of vocalist Shawna Potter.
“Aqua Tofana” is a call to arms and an album opener to end all album openers. The propulsive pounding from Dave Cavalier coupled with Brooks Harlan and Jenarchy/Jennifer Vito’s electric guitar shredding is altogether fiery but gets goddamn incendiary when providing the soundtrack for Potter’s voice. And then there’s a nod to to Shellac’s “Prayer To God” in here and if you didn’t already know it, 1000 Hurts by that Chicago outfit is one of the greatest records period. You either get it or you don’t. War On Women get it.
“Milk and Blood” has a sinister hum about it with nasty guitar tones from Vito and Harlan and similarly menacing bass lines from Sue Werner as Potter urgently croons new school anthems with an immediacy especially given the current state of the world. The title track is biting and frenetic on the way that the best Converge tracks usually are but it’s “This Stolen Land” (Which we coincidentally first listened to right after Indigenous Peoples’ Day) and its’ lurching, droning wall of guitars alternately switching to a rawkin’ riff rager that really cement War On Women’s penchant for crafting masterful true tales with their songs.
“White Lies” is another new anthem for War On Women while “Big Words” is an unrelenting staccato attack from the entire band with a little bit of “Hazy Shade Of Winter” seeping into the framework before becoming a cacophony of beats from Cavalier with Potter’s sweeping voice speaking volumes. “In Your Path” is beastly brooding, and barely lasting a minute while it’s Potter who pushes forward during the driving “The Ash is Not The End”.
“Demon” is a masterpiece of a finale and presents a masterclass in storytelling with echoes of the sonic intensity of the Auf der Maur record as Werner and Cavalier’s bass and drums ominously rumble along like thunder heralding an oncoming storm which happens when Harlan and Vito enter the fray with Potter providing a soulful, yet seething swoon throughout.
Wonderful Hell is out digitally now through Bride 9 Records with a physical release slated for November 13th. Yours can be pre-ordered and gotten by clicking here for the digital or here for the physical. For more on War On Women, follow the trail of socials across the interwebs by clicking here, here, or here.