The Order of Elijah had quite a busy 2015 between switching record labels, touring and recording their third full-length album, War at Heart. With all that going on, the album could have suffered, but it’s clear that couldn’t be further from the truth. War at Heart was written and recorded all at once, giving the album a more cohesive sound when compared the band’s previous work. Sadly, the samples from their previous release, Dethroned, didn’t make the cut with their new album. Vocalist Shannon Low has a unique vocal style that stems from rap and hip-hop influences (like Yelawolf and Machine Gun Kelly), which gives The Order of Elijah a unique result when compared to other metalcore bands. Low has upped his own game here, with a tighter lyrical delivery and better flow to the staccato of his scream-rap style when compared to the band’s previous releases. The guitar hooks, breakdowns, bass grooves and rapid fire drum beats have also been brought to a new level.
The album starts out on a bit of a low note with “Heresy,” a distorted spoken track that’s hard to understand and is a little too long for an intro track without music. It does immediately pick up coming out of the intro and throws you into an excellent torrent of noise. The Order of Elijah does a great job of keeping the energy level high and unrelenting through the first half of the album with headbangers “War at Heart,” “God’s Unwanted Children” and “Tyler Durden” before slowing things down with instrumental interlude “From the Dusk,” which has to be one of my favorite instrumentals I’ve ever heard. Things rocket back up with one of the best songs on the album, “From the Dawn.” The somber bass line and poignant guitar riffs of “Dusk” transition provide a great backdrop heading into the harsh screams and breakdowns of “Dawn.” The album rides the energy all the way through the end of War at Heart with some great tracks like “All American Plague,” “The Art of Forgiveness” and ends with “Beauty,” a touching song written for Low’s daughter, whom he has said gives him hope through everything life throws at him.
The Order of Elijah has built up a bit of a reputation for being hypercritical of organized religion. I won’t deny the band makes quality points in their critique of the church on the album, and whether you agree with their message or not, War at Heart is a great album and well worth the listen if you’re looking for something outside the usual metalcore tropes.