Within The Ruins
is a group that is truly emerging from the metal scene as one of the greatest titans in modern technical metal, gathering a generally large following and releasing a decent stack of records. This legacy all started in 2003 from Westfield, Massachusetts, when the band first released two EPs, “Driven in Fear” in 2006 and “Empires
” in 2008. Afterwards, label powerhouse Victory
Records got the band a deal, and subsequently, the group released their debut full-length “Creature
” in 2009, which became a relatively big hit almost immediately, and showed that Within The Ruins
is a heavy and technical band that should not be taken lightly. The band then released their second full-length “Invade
” in 2010 and their third EP “Omen
” in 2011, both being great releases that truly expand from the group’s earlier potential. The quartet later departed from Victory
Records to join the roster of eOne Music and Good Fight
Entertainment, which were well-renowned for having bands such as The Contortionist
, The Chariot
, and High On Fire
under their wings. This is where the band’s third full-length release from 2013, “Elite
,” comes in. Hence the album’s title, Within The Ruins
makes their return to demonstrate the peak of their technical metalcore onslaught.
Prompt to the previous works this band has had to offer, the musicianship, for the most part, has seen a little modification. The only field of musicianship that has not underwent much change would be the vocals, which consist of deep growls and throaty roars that are done very decently, demonstrating a nice teeming of aggressive energy. However, in regards to the instrumentation, or more specifically, the guitars and the drums, there is a tad yet rather notable difference in sound between “Elite
” and the preceding records in the band’s collection. Unlike before, both the guitar and drum work are more solidly played out, and do not showcase a strong sense of fierce technicality as before. The guitars focus much more on the melodies and licks as opposed to jumping and reflecting on and off the walls with extreme complexity, while the drums are more concentrated on rapid-fire and robust play instead of running wild with utter technicality, if not flat-out spastic passages. This is an intriguing step for the band to take, because this generates some breathing room for the music overall, allowing room for some atmosphere for easier intake. Although “Invade
” was a great specimen of solid-steel technical metal, the main problem with it was that it was somewhat claustrophobic and overly complex at times. Thankfully, this issue has clearly been ironed out in “Elite
,” and the end result is a more concentrated instrumentation that still does bear its fair share of complexity while withholding its solidity.
Although the overall sound of “Elite
” is very similar to its predecessors, and thus will not frighten off any loyal fans, Within The Ruins
seems to be tilting the scale towards more melody and shedding off a little weight on the technicality. Like the musicianship, the band’s metallic onslaught is a lot more focused and compact, as opposed to the band’s older releases, where both technicality and feral melodies were equally used. While there is still plenty of complexity to be heard, it is more dense and focal on the melodies than before, clearing the way for some more potent melody. Because of the band’s more structured approach in this album, each song demonstrates great flow and transition, and nothing sounds clunky. The production, done by guitarist Joe Cocchi, also helps in “Elite
” delivering its effect, letting every single element of the musicianship act as a force on its own and generating a very bold sound. However, that being said, there is still that one issue that has haunted the group’s other releases over the past few years: There is an unfortunate surplus of instances where the melodies in between tracks sound too similar for their own good. This is a rather cumbersome flaw, because this makes the album lose a little steam through even the first listen. Thankfully, though, since the melodies are generally gripping, the album does manage to keep the listeners engaged in its destructively sonic fabric. “Elite
” sees a change for Within The Ruins
in which melody takes more dominance than their traditional technicality, and, for the most part, it proves that the band is heading in a good direction.
However, even with all this leaning towards melody, that doesn’t necessarily indicate that “Elite
” is not without its metallic brutality. The tracks are all packed with heavy breakdowns and punchy riffs to provide as a framework for the technicality and melody described earlier, providing not only something to really bang listeners’ own heads to, but also the steak for all the sizzle. In other words, “Elite
” is not just a somewhat tediously crazed fusion of melody and complexity; instead, the brutality gives the album a base to build upon the icing of the cake. Both
sides integrate rather seamlessly, and this makes way for a well-balanced and well-rounded sound. Sadly, this aspect also does suffer from the same shortcoming as the melodies described earlier, what with some breakdowns and brutal riffs being far too congruent throughout the album. Despite
that flaw, though, the heavier side that this record has to display does work well in the band’s favor.
When it comes to Within The Ruins
’ collection as a whole, “Elite
” is a nice follow-up to its antecedents. It’s a great demonstration of a modern metal band stepping away from an incredibly technical sound to a more focused and compact direction. The musicianship, particularly the guitar and drum play, is a lot more solidly performed, as well as the overall sound of the music itself. As stated earlier, the band is sort of steering away from their usual wildly complex sound in order to make some room for a more melodic sound, and thus allowing the music some breathing room and for its passages to deliver their own effects without becoming claustrophobic, like in the band’s older releases. The brutal and heavier side of “Elite
” also plays to the record’s advantage, not only being packed with much energy and potency, but also serving as a solid basis for the melodies and technicality to be constructed upon. There still lies the problem, however, that the album holds a bad tendency of sounding repetitive and somewhat stale in between songs, but overall, that doesn’t necessarily stop the album from being an enjoyable one. Loyal fans will certainly not be disappointed, and will want to get their hands on this record when they get the chance. As for the newcomers, those in search of melodic, technical, and bold death metal and hardcore should give this album a listen. An enjoyable fusion of melodic and technical metal with brutal deathcore, “Elite
” has revealed an interesting step for an iconic modern metal band’s career.
Originally posted on: http://metaljerky.blogspot.com/