Review Summary: Within the Ruins take a one step forward/two steps back mentality with their signature “paint-by-numbers” approach to downtuned metalcore.
“Elite” Guitar Tuning: 6-string / G# D# G# C# F A#
On Within the Ruins’ debut album Creatures, a memorable guitar lead comes in at the end of the song Tractor Pull. Requiring lightning fast dexterity over the span of 7 frets, one can’t help but imagine the almost autistic-like mentality that is required to master guitar playing at this level.
It’s ultimately this “autistic-like” absent-minded quality that has continued to define (and ultimately limit) the potential of metal bands like Within the Ruins.
It has been no secret that the release for WTR’s “Elite” has seen several delays, with the release date originally being slated for Fall 2012. As is often the case in Hollywood, delayed releases usually speak to deeper problems, either with the product itself or the studio/label behind it.
The most frustrating thing about listening to Elite is in how much it sounds EXACTLY like Invade, considering the evolutionary leap in songwriting and creativity shown on WTR’s Omen EP.
"New Holy War," "Absolute Hell" and "Feeding Frenzy" feature some of the more memorable riffing, but honestly, ALL of the guitar gimmicks on Elite, from the Gojira/Danza-esque pick scrapes, to the Emmure “trademarked” Digitech Whammy Pedal pitchshifts coupled with immense (if predictable) breakdowns all fall flat due to an extremely lackluster production mix.
Overtly compressed/gated guitar tone and a completely inaudible bass take what is already tepid songwriting and render it even more 2-dimensional. Ultimately, each song plays out like an advanced level from Sonic the Hedgehog, careening into a sea of guitar leads with little regard for listener interest.
Vocalist Tim Goergen sounds endlessly lost in a myriad of songs that leave little room for dramatic interpretation. Guitarist Joe Cocchi does experiment with some odd delay/phaser effects on “I, Blaspheme” and “Weightless,” but by then it’s too little too late.
If WTR had strived to captured the raw energy of their live shows, the final product of Elite would have been all the better for it. Instead we’re treated to an overly produced, emasculated studio album that lacks low-end depth and rawness.
Within the Ruins could’ve been a genre-defying band, but in today’s market, where even the most youth-oriented bands like iwrestledabearonce and Veil of Maya have complex guitar leads . . . you need more to stand out from the pack than just technical chops (and breakdowns). Unfortunately, Within the Ruins have yet to have found their musical gambit.