Into the Moat
The Campaign


4.5
superb

Review

by hykinix USER (9 Reviews)
March 27th, 2009 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A work of dark elements, crushing walls of sound and haunting progressions. Certainly not "The Design II", and better that way.

Well what do we have here? Three years after the disgusting monstrosity of a debut album 'The Design' Into the Moat comes back with a new concoction of tracks. I think the big questions surrounding this album prior to its release, at least for me, were "will it be worth a three year wait?" and "is The Campaign going to be another orgy of time signature changes, sweeps and breakdowns?"

The answers for both are yes and no.

So the Campaign has dropped and I've let it sink in over repeated listens. And having been able to spin the Design for a few years now without getting bored (you don't see metal fans twiddling their thumbs through Calculating Infinity very often, nor this) it's safe to say that as one of my most highly anticipated albums of the year Into the Moat has not disappointed.

But they have changed. Somebody who hasn't gone through meticulous analysis of the rediculous brutality The Design had to offer probably wouldn't care to sort the differences between it and this new adventure. While The Design was an overload of the senses in every way imaginable and then in ways unimaginable, the Campaign has...well, not 'slowed down' or even lost any technicality, but has certainly arranged itself in a much more grounded way, actually sticking to tempos and riffs for more than three seconds before becoming unrecognizable. I'd even venture to say that there are progressive elements here that were unfounded on The Design. Here they actually allude to upcoming climaxes and set unique moods for each song, some having a 'doom metal' sort of feel on tracks like 'Advocate Vs Activist' (for short periods, mind you) whereas the Design, while having no dud tracks (outside the opener Century II which got old for me pretty quick), had no factor within each that distinguished them. Basically 'The Design' could have been one song.

This could have been one song too - but not because the aural assault on the listener makes it difficult to distinguish between song changes. Rather because this has a certain element of flow and cohesion to it; a sort of maturity and understanding of music which goes beyond the need to constantly throw in blast beats and chug chugs. This is by no means less heavy than the Design: I would define it instead as less sporadic overall.

I should tread carefully in saying that I suppose, since the drums are as absurdly awesome as ever. Matt Gossman is one relentless dude. While his focus on The Design was keeping up with the guitars and slaying on the double kick, here he's placed a lot more emphasis on the cymbals and various accents available. He really succeeds in 'filling in' the spots where the guitar are a bit more relaxed and kills it with the same ferocity when they're going full force. Which brings me to the vocals...

Coming from a fellow metal vocalist, I will admit Earl Ruwell has a pretty brutal scream in a genre flooded with run of the mill growlers. On the Design he hit the lows and highs like nobody's business. But here, I won't hesitate to say that his effort (or at least the production job) is the least stellar. Where the low screams on The Design had that little bit of distorted grittiness to them, here we can hear where the screams turn to yells pretty clearly, often sounding to me like a failed attempt at hitting a lower register. It's a matter of taste I suppose, but I prefer when the screams sound more full and without his clean voice coming through at the end. Also, there is not one high scream on this album. The monotonous vocal flavor is a nitpick for me most definitely. It doesn't deter the instrumentals though and at times of course he still shines throughout as his vocals are well placed and still hit home the majority of the time.

When it all fuses together, this album comes across as an ominous journey. Where this band once prided themselves on extremely abrupt changes in structure: The Campaign does the same, except this time you are traversing a dark corridor, trying to pinpoint the layers of sound but being pulled into a new chapter just as soon as you feel you've figured out where you are going. I suppose the best summary would be to say that where The Design - while technical to the Nth degree - was a two-dimensional version of The Campaign, which has filled in all the elements of darkness with nuances and subtleties making for a much more full, awarding listening experience.

All in all, I deem this construction worthy of repeated listens and dub it a worthy older brother - of different taste - to The Design. For listeners unfamiliar to this band's work looking to segue into this, choose this if you appreciate metal in the vein of Intronaut, The Handshake Murders, or Gorguts. If you prefer your headbanging material like Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza or Dillinger, choose The Design.



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user ratings (47)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
hykinix
March 27th 2009


188 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm pretty happy with this. Criticism always welcome.

Also, the recommended artists is admittedly not the absolute best comparison to this band. Still all the listed bands incorporate some degree of the same flavor.

BallsToTheWall
March 27th 2009


44805 Comments


Design ruled. Good to see these back, haven't listened to them in years. Nice first review.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

hykinix
March 27th 2009


188 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Not my first review hehe I've got seven others but thank you.

Tulannical
March 27th 2009


2051 Comments


great review! I've heard of these guys. Maybe I should check them out

BallsToTheWall
March 27th 2009


44805 Comments


Could have sworn 1, but i'm just stuck in a math module, contimplating whether or not I should smash my monitor. Speaking of into the moat, I let my buddy borrow The Design in high school oh i'd say 2007, and he didn't give it back. Still pisses me off but if this is an imporvment I'll let it slide.

Wizard
March 27th 2009


19644 Comments


Very impressive review. Votes all around!

I thought their last album was an exercise in masturbation on the fretboard so I will not be checking this out.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

rasputin
March 28th 2009


14555 Comments


Review is only okay, you refer to a lot of other material in describing what the album sounds like and for someone who hasn't heard any of it, like myself, figuring out what this album actually sounds like is rather difficult. All I managed to gather is that this is somewhat similar to Dillinger. Or maybe not, I'm not sure.

Wizard
March 28th 2009


19644 Comments


Their first album sounded like the Dillinger Escape Plan buttfucking a tech-death band.

BallsToTheWall
March 28th 2009


44805 Comments


And that's why their first album was a good, fun listen.

iamthenightmare
March 28th 2009


754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

first album was amazing.

so is this, hard to decide which is better

hykinix
March 28th 2009


188 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Review is only okay, you refer to a lot of other material in describing what the album sounds like and for someone who hasn't heard any of it, like myself, figuring out what this album actually sounds like is rather difficult. All I managed to gather is that this is somewhat similar to Dillinger. Or maybe not, I'm not sure."

Only referenced one band, being Dillinger which was supposed to allude to this band's virtuosity. Maybe I compared a bit too much to The Design though so I understand where you're coming from and I'll give some thought to how I can improve that.

hykinix
March 29th 2009


188 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Also, to The_Wizard; this has very little of the same masturbatory themes as The Design and is a much more focused effort which I feel would be at least worth a spin. There's very little comparative pretext for the two albums in terms of similarities so don't let your biases stop you from giving it a chance :P.

hykinix
March 31st 2009


188 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Did a bit of updating in which I attempted to describe the sound a bit better and touched up a few things. Also gave a few new comparisons. Hope it seems a bit more full now!

Also, as much as I tried to take the advice in lessening the comparative basis of this review, I felt it was the most effective way to try and encompass this in words. If you're not familiar with this band's earlier material then this review will obviously be a bit difficult to follow. I would hope somebody will come along and write another review from a different perspective :D.This Message Edited On 03.31.09

BigTuna
November 13th 2009


5161 Comments


Good review, album is great so far.

Digging: Hans Zimmer - Interstellar

hykinix
March 4th 2010


188 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I've since upped this to a 5. I'll probably consider revamping the review since I've got plenty of listens on this album since I wrote this.

All I can say right now is that this went seriously unnoticed and unappreciated. Even for me it seemed a bit off at first and I was a huge fan of The Design, but if you give this enough spins it grows on you and has lasting power.

ConsideredDead
April 17th 2010


121 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I just don't know about this album. I loved The Campaign, but I'm on the fence with this one. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. I've given it a ton of spins, and it has grown on me somewhat, but I guess my expectations were too high. It's good, but I don't think it's better than the Design.

Nice review, even though I disagree with the rating..

letmeholleratya
December 4th 2010


40 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I didn't like this as much as I thought I would have - I think it's because I had unrealistic expectations (I used to listen to The Design a shitload).

They sound like they have matured, but the heaviness almost feels gone from The Design. I definitely agree with the reviewer in regards to the vocalist - you hit it right on the mark.

BTBAMbear
October 31st 2011


100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea i definitely agree about the vocals. It seems like the vocals in The Last Century are reminiscent of his tone on The Design (which completely kick my ass everytime) but as the album goes on, it feels like he just got lazy with it. Still a great album though...

and awesome review btw

wacknizzle
December 24th 2012


13691 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This shit rules hard. Instead of doing The Design II they decided to have a baby with Intronaut, that kid turned out great ;)

Digging: Phobocosm - Deprived

wacknizzle
November 30th 2013


13691 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album was super weird for it's time, there's nothing else like it. It's like sludgy jazz metal



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