'Elite' is the third full length from Within The Ruins, an extreme Metal quartet from Westfield, Massachusetts. My first thoughts on hearing 'Elite' was: "Phwoar!! What a sexy album!!", because I was immediately seduced by the contrasting mix of an abundance of excellent technical guitar work melded with harsh vocal screams that are well executed, consistent and clearly decipherable throughout the tracks, always a winner with me.
Their sound is rooted in the foundations of modern death Metal, hints of classic thrash with the addition of technical solos that have an unusual quality to their construction. They have cleverly blended multiple Metal subgenres into a mix that is uniquely their own.
The whole album, start to finish, is an exciting listen, opening on 'Terminal' a great little instrumental intro that serves to give you a real taster of what to expect from the next ten tracks and acts as a warm up, preparing your ears for the intensity that will follow.
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On several tracks the technical elements and the guitar solos I thought were particularly impressive, innovative and dexterous and in addition to the strong technical edge on this release you can also look forward to some great chugging breakdowns and djent elements throughout.
Those standout tracks were 'Feeding Frenzy', the album single, which in the words of the band is a "direct attack on the trend following transients who overcrowd the music community, those who are eating themselves alive."
'Absolute Hell', where some of the harsher realities of life on the road for a touring band, slugging it out and making strong commitments to the art are addressed, 'Ataxia II' a catchy and memorable instrumental that picks up where the instrumental of the same name, from 'Invade', left-off and final track 'Dreamland', where l loved the use of the spoken sound-bite.
The consistent high quality continues with the remaining tracks on this heavily guitar led album and in amongst the technical intricacies there is a serious and sinister tale with a twist on 'The Charm', a dark tale of revenge. 'New Holy War' has an interesting, distorted opener. The bass started to shine through on the spiralling and intricate 'Solice'. Title track 'Elite' is slower paced but not by much and is a real builder and a brooder.
I loved the lyrics on 'I, Blaspheme', darkly profound as well as technically brilliant. Penultimate track, 'Weightless' has some of the fastest, most intense and shrill guitar work my ears have ever witnessed, alongside darkly passionate lyrics.
The whole album encompasses the most intense and exciting elements of a broad spectrum of Metal genres, the tracks are energetic and catchy but also a good amount of harmonies in the compositions, building on what they achieved on their previous releases, Josh Wickman, the producer has certainly helped to bring the best out in the finished product and the album certainly lives up to the title 'Elite'.
It will be interesting to see where they go from here. This is such a great album I hope it attracts a lot of interest if only just on the basis of the increased technicality and djent elements, which wasn't quite as prolific in their previous albums.
I also hope this album starts to bring a greater level of recognition to the band, they deserve it.