Nearly a decade into their union, Wage War found a themselves in a different place. Pulling away from the harder core rock of debut Blueprints and follow up, 2017’s Deadweight, the Ocala, FL natives explored the more melodic end of their musical spectrum on third album Pressure (Fearless Records) in 2019, a sound that was evident on single “Grave.”
A more soul-fueled rocker, “Grave” pushed Wage War’s boundaries into thicker harmonies and electronic components, something guitarist and vocalist Cody Quistad says was a natural evolution for the band since forming in 2010.
Everything started shifting on Pressure—even the band’s locale. For the first time, Wage War moved from recording in Florida and relocated to Los Angeles. There, they tapped producer Drew Fulk (I Prevail, Bullet for My Valentine) and writer Andrew Goldstein (Demi Lovato) to sonically fuse together this new extension of their sound.
Still keeping Wage War’s heavier elements intact, the recorded track delved into toxic relationships that seems to move in and out of one’s life. The original video for “Grave,” directed by Drew Russ even captured poisonous relations in its imagery of creeping caterpillars turned to moths drawn to a flame.
Exploring more of its melodious side, Wage War recently revisited “Grave,” producing a more stripped back version of the track.
“We started doing stripped versions of our songs a couple of years ago, and people really seemed to enjoy them, which is a plus for us, because we love doing them,” Quistad tells American Songwriter. “A lot of our songs get hashed out on acoustic guitar before they see their final stages and it’s fun to bring it back to its roots.”
The video features the band members in their respective self-quarantined spaces and reveals more of the harmony and essence of the song, lyrically and emotionally.
Moving ahead, stripping back songs even more is Quistad says the band won’t shy away from exploring when recording. “We’re always trying to expand the range of what we can do,” he says. “I think being a heavy band that can still create intimate, stripped down moments is a very important thing to us.”