Within The Ruins


Written by: AP on 19/09/2013 14:31:35

Within the Ruins are one of the more prominent actors in the technical deathcore/metalcore movement that continues to enjoy immense popularity over in the U.S. It's easy to see why: the combination of chugging and breakdowns with an ultra-technical edge attracts both those fond of moshing and other aspects of pit culture, and those looking to lap in noodling guitar scales, odd time signatures and stop/start dynamics. This latest album by Within the Ruins, "Elite", offers all of the above.

From a technical standpoint there isn't a finger to point at some blunder, as producer Joshua Wickham has ensured that "Elite" sounds sanitised and ultra-modern - likely a divisive factor when examined by fans of Joey Sturgis' repertoire and more traditionally disposed metalheads. But if you can stomach the sterility, there are clear rewards to be had here, especially for those fond of the archetypical Sumerian artist, as the skill of musicianship is bordering on the sublime. What lacks in character and soul stemming from a more organic and earth-near approach is compensated here by technical superiority that'll have you gaping with wide eyes, attempting to comprehend how Within the Ruins are able to reproduce such prowess in the live setting with any precision. It's not akin to the prog-metal grandeur of Between the Buried and Me of course, but Within the Ruins can certainly hold their own against the likes of Born of Osiris, The Contortionist, Veil of Maya, Volumes et al.

Though it is unlikely that a path of influence exists between the two; Volumes, in particular, is a name that pops up in my mind during the standout "Feeding Frenzy", its off-kilter timing, intricate leads and neo-classically inspired solo work contributing a similarly space aged vibe to the proceedings. Such a science-fiction atmosphere befits Within the Ruins well, as the music is so quintessentially modern in its style that less contemporary ideas would seriously have suffered from a soundscape that sounds like it came from a research lab. Indeed, both the production and execution of songs like "Solace" and "I, Blaspheme" is extraordinarily tight, but not always to the band's benefit. There is a tendency for the material to sound completely devoid of human emotion, as most of the lyrical palette consists of contrived self-empowerment verse such as "Live, eat, breathe, bleed / Striving to reach the peak / Sweat, grind, break, bleed / Satisfaction achieved / I find solace, I find peace / I find peace in the unforeseen / and now my satisfaction is achieved.". It's probably fun to roar along to in the live setting, but to connect with such rhetoric on a personal level is nigh impossible.

As such, perhaps the best way to describe "Elite" is that it's mechanical; mind you, balancing finely on the tightrope between a cold automaton and songs bursting with crafty instrumental prowess. The album is a well-oiled, sufficiently complex machine for the modern-day metal aficionado, but it offers few rewards to those looking to be addressed on the conceptual level. Unoriginal though the style may be, Within the Ruins play it with an expert's touch, and the result is an assortment of songs that will always sound satisfying at the moment. That is, the songs have considerable difficulty in establishing a lasting memory imprint, but any of the riffs and short individual moments are catchy enough in their own right to make their parent songs relatively interesting for a time.


Download: Solace; Feeding Frenzy; Ataxia II; I, Blaspheme
For the fans of: Born of Osiris, Northlane, Veil of Maya, Volumes
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.02.2013
eOne / Good Fight Music

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