Review Summary: Within the Ruins brings some new ideas to the table with their debut CD "Empires"
Within the Ruins is a technical metal band from Massachusetts. Relatively unknown outside of the greater New England area, it's a surprise they aren't signed yet. Within the Ruins plays a style of metal reminiscent of Veil of Maya and Meshuggah, filled with melodic riffs and oddly-timed breakdowns. Once you get a listen of Within the Ruins, you'll wish some bands had half as much talent as these guys.
"Empires" starts off with a few seconds of silence before a guitar slide leads into the first song, "Cash Her In." This song gives you a taste of what the rest of "Empires" will be filled with, extremely low-tuned riffs with breakdowns that never seem to repeat. As a listener, you get your first taste of epic-ness during the chorus of "Holy Mess," which features an angelic-sounding choir over a simple riff as vocalist Jon screams "The water's rising/the water's rising in her lungs." Next is my personal favorite, "Tractor Pull." Starting off with a trademark Within the Ruins riff, this song is non-stop from start to finish. The highlight is the chorus, with an epic build up, and even more memorable riff. "Tug of War" comes in with a slower, groovier opening riff, leading into a more melodic section than they usually play. "Floodgates" opens with a riff over a snare/hi-hat fill, and goes straight into more melodic section. The album ends with "Victory," a 2-minute instrumental that ends with the angelic chorus, similar to that of "Holy Mess."
The guitarists show precision with their lightning-fast riffs that seem to move all over the fretboard. They constantly switch up the breakdowns they're playing, throwing in some panning moves, 32nd notes, or some whammy bar madness to keep things interesting. For the most part, the vocalist utilizes a hardcore-style yell, but occasionally reaches for some highs. The vocals seem perfect for the style of music Within the Ruins plays, blending seamlessly with the other instruments. The drummer is one of the highlights of this band. Instead of going all blasty-blasty and showing off his br00tuhl foot speed, he lays back on some songs, letting the guitars take the forefront. The bass, as usual, is nonexistent, all though that may be because they did not have a bassist until a few weeks ago.
Overall, this is a wonderful album chock-full of melodic riffs, epic choruses, and technically interesting breakdowns. The production is extremely tight, and each member is technically proficient at their instrument. "Empires" is for anyone who enjoys technicality, spontaneous music, but doesn't want to listen to the same "deathcore" cliches over and over again.