Review Summary: While many listeners might be perfectly pleased with the act's bombastic instrumental performance alone, there is still room for growth in the songwriting department for these excellent musicians.
As a subgenre of metal, technical deathcore offers an array of possibilities that are not always used to their maximum effect by outfits more concerned with developing their technical prowess than actual songwriting skills. Within The Ruins actually assured that they would focus more on the songcraft and coherent compositions with their new release "Invade," the follower of musically proficient, yet soullessly mechanical "Creature." As it often happens, their promise came only partially true. The songs on "Invade" seem more structured making a fine use of crashing off-beat breakdowns and highly melodic leads. Nonetheless, the band's apparent tendencies to make their music as complex as possible have not entirely given way.
"Invade" legitimately impresses with the level of musicianship guitarists Joe Cocchi and Jay van Schelt display. More often than not their attack is well-constructed like in "Versus" and the titular track which benefit from truely memorable guitar lines and progressions reminscent of Meshuggah. On the other hand, they tend to get lost in a wide range of breakdowns that happen to unravel within one another without any deeper thought. This along with prominent emotionless melodeath noodling makes for such exhausting compositions as "Red Flagged" and "Feast Or Famine." The guitarwork is put at the forefront to such an extent that the rhythm section plays a rather secondary role. Drummer Kevin McGuills delivers a metronomic, machine-gun performance, yet fails to make any lasting impression being nothing more than reliable. Whereas, the bass riffs are surprisingly barely audible throughout the album, which is a real shame given the endless rhythmic capabilities of the instrument especially in this kind of music.
In contrast, the new singer Tim Goergen lives up to his task by providing raspy guttural screams that prove to be admittedly fitting to the style of the band even though his often clumsy lyrics leave a lot to be desired. The lines such as "I believe what I believe so don't force your faith on me" and "Life is what you make it" come as overly trite and simplistic. In consequence, it's no surprise that the two best compositions on the album are completely instrumental. Both "Ataxia" and "Roads" have a more proggressive vibe to them taking full advantage of their curiously varied structure that for once showcases the band producing something different, if not necessarily groundbreaking.
Overall, "Invade" is an album full of contradictions. While being the most cohesive release of Within The Ruins so far, the disc is still a rather direct continuation of their high-on-technicality, low-on-songcraft blend of deathcore. While many listeners might be perfectly pleased with the act's bombastic instrumental performance alone, there is still room for growth in the songwriting department for these excellent musicians. It's advisable for them to vastly improve also this aspect of their music in the near future.