Within The Ruins
, a progressive metalcore band hailing from Westfield, Massachusetts, seem to be doing well. That
is actually somewhat of an understatement, considering their newest release, “Invade” out last week (at the time of this review- 8/31/2010) is making ears bleed, people dance and pregnant wOmen give birth prematurely. Tim Goergen, previously of She Is A Liar
, is their new vocalist and is actually a very nice improvement over their previous frontman Jon Grande. Their guitarists Kyle Marcoux and Joe Cocchi are astounding at their craft, complimenting each other extremely well. Last but not least, the quintet is completed by Mike Beaujean on bass and Drummer (though I’m still not sure if this intentional) their drummer. Though the band has gone through several line-up changes, they have grown immensely in their musicianship and their talent is very apparent in “Invade”.
The intro track “Designing Oblivion” is very different than those found in most metalcore albums today, relying heavily on bass (though not the instrument). This track opens up the mood of the album, however, and it gives way to “Versus
”, a memorable driving concoction. The lyrics of this song, considered blasphemous by many, provide the listener with a powerful message. Tim calls out God
, saying that if God
is real, he’s watching his greatest creation decay before his eyes. It is interesting to note how the vocals seem to fit this track more than any other track in the album, and that the lyrics thereby fit the mood of the track better than the rest of the songs found in “Invade”. Lastly, I am a big fan of the fade out near the end of the song, signifying an endless message.
“Behold the Harlot
”, the third track of the album, contains complex syncopated guitar work and the drums seem to compliment this very well. The guitars, however, seem to scream out the title. Listening to them, I get the feeling that they are telling me what the music should, relying to me the right kind of story. The breakdowns in this song, however, somewhat hinder the ultimate flow of the song. This track is followed by “Red
Flagged”, one of the catchiest songs in the album. The guitar work over the main verses is very nicely executed. Unfortunately, vocals in this song do not seem to make the song justice. They do not stand out as they do in previous tracks; I catch myself mesmerized by the drums and the guitars and forget they even have a vocalist.
Their next track, “Invade”, title track and their first lead single, has the most impressive intro I’ve heard in a while. I find them releasing this as a single an excellent choice, as it is one of the songs with the most power. In contrast to the previous song, the vocals in this track are in fact what initially drive the song, and the guitars primarily compliment that. A minute into the song we’re greeted by fantastic guitar work. This song becomes ever more splendid as it progresses, primarily the second half of the song. The guitar work at three minutes is one of the few portions that truly make me appreciate their musicianship. “Ataxia”, the masturbatory masterpiece, is a very nice instrumental. If you have any love for progressive guitars and bass, then this next track is likely to go into your repertoire of favorite songs. I thought their previous work was impressive, but this song shows their skill, their utterly impressive prowess.
“Crossbuster” is another track where lyrics carry the song. Initially, however, it suffers from following “Ataxia”, since the listener is left with their lingering sentiments from the previous song and may be a bit distracted while attempting to listen to this song. “Crossbuster” lyrics and its music as it progresses eventually hold their own weight. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said about the following track. “Feast or Famine” is perhaps the most generic and clichéd song in the record. It feels rushed, with very unmemorable riffs and passages, and it simply jumps from breakdown to breakdown akin to The Acacia Strain
, except with a little bit more flare. The only positive thing I can say about this song is that it contains superb gang vocals.
” suffered from the same faults as the previous song, suffering from initial quotidian monotony. Very few mOments, mainly at the first minute and a half, rejuvenate the song, only to be dulled again by its subsequent breakdown. I am a fan of breakdowns, but in my honest opinion, they have to be well executed and though Within the Ruins
usually does this well, it begins to become stale this late in the album. I should still mention that one thing “Oath
” does well is to provide the listener with a great combination of brutality and melody. It is simply unfortunate that by this point in the album, I’d rather have more melody.
“The Carouser”, however, feels like it belongs on the first half of the album. The guitar riff introduced at about thirty seconds into the song is the best thing this track contains, and using that riff a few more times throughout the song provide a breath of fresh air, for its execution is sparse yet tasteful. In addition, the vocals are a bit stronger in this song, showcasing Tim’s capabilities and range. Last, but not least, “Roads”, an outro instrumental, is another masterpiece. Musicianship is stupendous. Putting this track at the very end of the album was certainly intentional, meant to leave you waiting for more and hopeful for this band’s future releases. The vocalist of this band is a boon to the music; however, I find it saddening that two of the best songs within “Invade” are without him.
Though the album is plagued by a plethora of interruptive breakdowns that alter the overall flow of the music, it is still a very solid release and certainly one of my favorite albums of the year. One thing, as a fellow musician, that I would love to discover is how the band’s songwriting is borne. How songs are crafted when they sit down to create music. Are the lyrics written first, the melodic and beautiful passages that will certainly create the overall mood of the song, or whether it is all impromptu, with no plans in mind, just writing excellent music from the get go? Maybe one day I can find out.