On this split release, xWeaponx and World of Pleasure deliver a memorable collaboration of straight edge vitriol.
Release date: March 13, 2023 | DAZE Style | Bandcamp | Label Instagram | Label Twitter | World of Pleasure Instagram
Weapon of Pleasure is a split EP release with the latest offerings of two of straight edge’s fastest rising bands, xWeaponx and World of Pleasure as the name suggests. Released ahead of both band’s appearance at the annual LDB Fest in Louisville, Kentucky, the release is just shy of 10 minutes of vitriolic straight edge fury. During the Fest, World of Pleasure opened by playing xWeaponx’s intro (which they themselves opened and then closed their own set with) with each band doing features during each-other’s sets.
The collaboration for this split is more than skin deep. From front to back we are given a clinic in what straight edge music can be in 2023 away from some of the more positive bands in the scene. Beyond the anger in the lyrics, the music is similar aggressive and intense, with blazing riffs, blasting rhythms and powerful breakdowns. While this paragraph may make this sound like an overly serious release, this is great fun and is littered with easter eggs for lovers of the early releases from these two bands.
xWeaponx are a band which include Knocked Loose guitarist Isaac Hale and vocalist Bryan Garris (handling bass here) as well as his younger brother Trey (who is also touring with fellow straight edge band Dare), they were always going to serve up some excitement and heaviness. Away from the purer metalcore of Knocked Loose, xWeaponx sees a more straight-forward hardcore sound rooted in aggressive straight edge lyrics but with a notable beatdown influence. As I said though, this is great fun with a certain sense of humour and set of references to both bands littered throughout the lyrics. The singalong nature of the lyrics is a large part of this, memorable lines such as ‘this is a war fought only in vengeance, this is a debt paid only in blood‘ immediately bringing to mind classic straight edge iconography and ideology.
“Domination III” is their take on World of Pleasure’s “Domination” parts I and II, from their first two EPs. Stylistically it is much more xWeaponx, with more tongue in cheek and memorable lines like ‘me vs you, you lose!‘. It does, however, feature a scathing verse from World of Pleasure vocalist Jess Nyx (the favour is returned on side B). The breakdown call is a callback for the earlier World of Pleasure lyric ‘vegan domination’ but replaced with ‘straight edge domination’ for this cut.
The World of Pleasure side is an even more ferocious animal. Featuring members of similarly scathing bands Mortality Rate and Serration, it again isn’t a surprise to hear such quality in what they’re putting out. Their first track, “World War X” is a furious attack with huge energy and attitude. The riffs and drumming are at breakneck speed, with the drums retaining that recognisable, high-pitched snare pop of their first two releases. The lyrics continue to take aim at those not straight edge, meeting them with disdain, reaffirming their own positive choices in spite of others with more memorable lines like ‘to be this way, I don’t have to try and people like you remind me why‘ (itself a callback to “People Like You” on the xWeaponx demo).
“Uzis Akimbo” is a similar hyper-aggressive take on their positive lifestyle choices, this time veganism. The whole song is pure in its outlook, with the power of Colter James’ instrumental more than meeting Jess’ piercing delivery. The lyrics are just as pointed as the riffs and the beats, the song starting with a breakdown before bursting into life by calling those who break veganism ‘a waste of skin‘. On top of this, the chaotic ensemble delivers such energy and power through everything they do that it’s hard not to feel every single word screamed at you and have it plunged deep into your soul. I still find this an incredibly fun listen though, with another call back to their split mates with the line ‘I am vegan in spite of you‘. Probably my favourite thing though, is that they have taken it upon themselves to break the world record for how many times they can say their own name in songs, these two songs add four, bringing the total up to 13 uses of their own name in just 9 songs. World of Pleasure.
These two bands dropped this EP and fired themselves into what looked to be memorable appearances at LDB Fest. I love the notable collaboration that’s gone into both sides, it’s a split release that the two bands haven’t just thrown together out of songs they had lying around. Across the world, it’s clear that vegan straight edge is still gathering momentum and delivering hardcore of the highest quality in a generally proliferated scene. While vegan straight edge bands singing songs about vegan and being straight edge is somewhat a cliché, I don’t mind when it’s done so well.
Header photo by Heather Vaught (heatherxedge)