Wage War Explore The Creative Freedom of Their Second Era on 'Stigma'

Wage War Explore The Creative Freedom of Their Second Era on 'Stigma'

- By Ramon Gonzales

The band discuss how the their experimentation on Manic and gave them the confidence to further explore new terrain on the highly-anticipated follow-up.

This spring, Florida metalcore trailblazers Wage War dropped an emphatic introduction to their next era with the arrival of "Magnetic". Marking the first reveal of new music since the band's hailed 2021 full length, Manic, the gripping track underscored the band's continued musical evolution - one that truly seemed to take shape during the band's reemergence post-pandemic. 

Stigma marked the band's fifth and arguably most formative full length to date. Riding a groundswell of excitement from the band's previous success and a stretch of substantial touring during the Manic cycle, the anticipation for the band's newest entry via Fearless Records not only suggested a career year for Wage War was on the horizon, but that the band had ultimately crashed through metalcore's creative ceiling with something definitive - something all their own. 

Watch Cody Quistad of Wage War on the Talk Toomey Podcast - HERE

Ahead of the album's arrival, the succession of singles in tracks like the emotive "Blur", the explosive "Tombstone" and the electrifying bounce of "NAIL5" offered clear evidence that Wage War had no intention of residing in the confines of conventional metalcore. Preserving the best parts of the band cultivated for the last decade, Wage War has since built upon that foundation to become the most complete, most versatile version of themselves yet. 

Daring to color outside the lines and experiment creatively on Manic, Stigma is that spirit of exploration meticulously refined. The meld of styles, influences and dynamics are all distilled into a cohesive presentation that retains their musical integrity, while giving the band space to evolve. In the process, Wage War is now reaching more fans than ever.

Speaking with the band, they assess how 2021 proved especially pivotal and how the creative stride achieved on Stigma, began by first daring to move out of step musically on Manic. On the verge of what looks to be a career year for Wage War, the band discuss the kind of pride they have packaged in their latest showing and how Stigma is less about provoking any status quo and more about the band tapping into their true creative potential.   


How crucial was Manic in terms laying the groundwork creatively to make an album like Stigma? Would you say Manic brought on the second era of Wage War? 

Manic was certainly a stepping stone for us. It gave us confidence to step out of our comfort zone and make the music we enjoy. I think calling it a second era is a relatively fair assessment. We’ll always stay true to our heavy roots but have been able to focus on trying new flavors in our music.

How influential have these last few years of touring been? The band has taken on big supporting roles and some of the biggest headlining shows to date. What were some of the lessons from the stage that ultimately impacted your work in the studio? 

We are always thinking about how songs we write will translate live. These past few years have been a huge period of growth for us. We’ve been able to play in front of a lot of new people with opportunities from Slipknot, Three Days Grace, Disturbed, etc. you learn a lot from the show that these bands produce night after night.



Wage War has shown the ability to tour with bands outside of the purview of conventional metalcore. Your run with Slipknot would be a prime example of that. Do you still thrive off of trying to win fans over and how does that play into your writing? 

100%. On those tours we know every night is a chance for someone new to hear about our music and we work hard to make a good first impression.

From “Magnetic” to “NAIL5” to “Tombstone” - the succession of singles from Stigma really showcase a broad spectrum of styles. How difficult is it to narrow down the focus of some of these big ideas to create something concise, cohesive? 

It can be a challenge at times but with this record we wanted every song to have its own identity. There’s a sonic theme throughout the album but each song is unapologetically itself. 



Thematically, your last record really sourced some dark places. Was there any therapy in seeing those songs resonate so well with people live? What did that do for your confidence as a songwriter going into the sessions for Stigma?  

There’s certainly comfort that comes from not feeling like you’re alone with some of these feelings. We all just want to be heard. Knowing people resonate with similar feelings boosts our confidence to continue to share our story.

As Wage War has evolved, it feels like your fanbase has been more than willing to come along with you for the ride. Your day one fans are rubbing elbows with new fans, which isn’t something most bands can pull off. What do you attribute that loyalty to? 

All we can hope is that our fans grow with us. Our music tastes change as we grow older. It seems like most people have an open mind to trying new things with us. 

You’ve been very candid about discussing how this record was very stress-free. Would it be fair to say Stigma is the album you always wanted to make instead of the album you feel like you had to make? 

The whole process felt like it flowed naturally. We took a few writing trips together and had great chemistry throughout. We’re able have our A game when we aren’t stressed about timelines.



The band also enlisted some outside help in making Stigma. How beneficial was that collaborative environment and was there any concern about veering too far left or right? 

Collaborating with the right people is such a useful tool. We’re fortunate to have worked with a handful of great writings to help bring their own perspective to a track that we may have otherwise boxed ourselves into. We push those boundaries as far as necessary to get the song where it needs to be and occasionally dial it back in to a place that feels comfortable.

Where does Stigma rank for you in terms of gratification? What are some of the takeaways from the album that will stick with you moving forward? 

Stigma is an album we are so proud of. The kind of pride that no one could tell you differently. I’ll look back on this process fondly in the way we collaborated together, took risks, and most importantly wrote the record WE wanted to make. We can’t wait to play these songs live.


Stigma, the fifth full length studio album from Wage War is now available via Fearless Records.

Order the album - HERE

Catch Wage War on their Stigma Tour which kicks off this September. The US trek will feature support from Erra, Thrown and Fame On Fire. A list of dates and cities can be found below. 

Get tickets - HERE



9/26 — St. Paul, MN — XCEL Center — KXXR Radio Show* 
9/28 — Detroit, MI — Pine Knob Music Theatre — WRIF RIFF FEST* 
9/29 — Chicago, IL — Radius
10/1 — Nashville, TN — Marathon Music Works
10/2 — Cincinnati, OH — Andrew J Brady Music Center
10/4 — Wallingford, CT — The Dome at Oakdale
10/5 — Montclair, NJ — The Wellmont Theater
10/6 — Boston, MA — Roadrunner
10/8 — Philadelphia, PA — The Fillmore Philadelphia
10/9 — Silver Spring, MD — The Fillmore Silver Spring
10/11 — Sauget, IL — Pop's Nightclub
10/12 — Little Rock, AR — Little Rock Hall
10/13 — Mobile, AL — Soul Kitchen
10/15 — Dallas, TX — The Factory in Deep Ellum
10/17 — Denver, CO — Fillmore Auditorium
10/18 — Salt Lake City, UT — Rockwell at The Complex
10/19 — Boise, ID — Revolution Concert House
10/22 — Tacoma, WA — Temple Theatre
10/23 — Portland, OR — Roseland Theater
10/25 — Pomona, CA — Fox Theater
10/26 — San Diego, CA — The Sound
10/27 — Tempe, AZ — Marquee Theatre
10/29 — San Antonio, TX — Boeing Center at Tech Port 
10/30 — Houston, TX — White Oak Music Hall
11/1 — Orlando, FL — Addition Financial Arena — WJRR Halloweenie Roast**
11/2 — Myrtle Beach, SC — House of Blues
11/3 — Atlanta, GA — The Eastern

*Wage War Festival Appearance
**Featuring Pop Evil


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