War of Words - DimWorld Act III [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

War of Words

DimWorld Act III [12-inch] (2011)

New England Standard

War of Words is a New England hardcore street punk collective featuring former members of Clit 45, A Global Threat, For the Worse, the Unseen and a slew of other acts. That impressive footnote alone should be a selling point capable of raising awareness, but War of Words has surprisingly bubbled slightly below the surface since their inception in 2003.

At first glance, War of Words seems far too ambitious in principle for a street punk band. Not only does the concept of a collective seem kind of silly for a sound that most bands can easily pull off with three or four members, but War of Words' output consisted of several releases years before ever playing their first show. DimWorld Act III follows the release of 2007's DimWorld Act II, while DimWorld Act I, the prologue in their three-part concept trilogy, is apparently still in the works.

Fortunately, even while trying out some occasional bells and whistles (literally, like the whistling outro on "Isolated"), War of Words essentially sticks to the hardcore street punk that brought its members recognition, while dipping its toes in spaghetti western reggae ("Colours"), tumbleweed country ("The Rain") and an abrasive vocal canon ("Slumlord (Reprise)"). There's also plenty of solid, straight-ahead punk rock, like the infectious "Bombs Away" and anthemic "The New Voice".

Perhaps the most impressive facet of War of Words is their lyricism, to whomever credit is due since it's not noted in the insert. Most of the themes are the misanthropic street manifestos expected of the genre, but they're executed far more eloquently than the standard fare. Take the simple but vivid picture painted in "The Revolt of 1000" for instance: "Over the waters and across the land, a battlecry carried the refusal of man / So we soldiered on, brought the war a thousand strong / And we lay a thousand men to rest / But as the dust cleared it uncovered a thousand dead bodies of our own."

There's a lot War of Words has going for them, including a talented lineup, a great name, and solid songwriting. The only criticism that might be due is for the cover art, which is essentially just a psychedelic rehash of DimWorld Act II, which kind of makes sense but just isn't that appealing considering the genre, especially when the art on the flipside of the liner notes is so good. Minor aesthetic qualm aside, DimWorld Act III is an interesting if not altogether groundbreaking hardcore street punk record.