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EMPIRES

Within the Ruins

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'Empires' - Within The Ruins (4/10)

A slight improvement over their first EP 'Driven By Fear', I find myself able to appreciate Within The Ruins a little more, although I still could not ever consider myself a fan of them. I find that whenever they focus a little more on their technical elements (as opposed to their simpler deathcore sound), there is a positive correlation to the quality of the music. Within The Ruins is certainly getting hungrier for tech metal on this one, but as far as actually good music goes, it still feels as if there is something missing from their formula.

Gone are the gross clean vocals and some of the cringe-worthy deathcore breakdowns that sought to balance out the otherwise impressive technical moments with some less inspiring heaviness. 'Empires' follows a fairly similar formula to 'Driven By Fear', but the technical aspect has been highlighted a little more, and the production has been improved upon. There are still the breakdowns where the band lets go of any technical leanings and succumbs to angry shouts and rhythmic strumming of a single downtuned chord, but this less tasteful approach has been downplayed. All the same, while Within The Ruins have made an improvement in their sound here, I still think there are a few very important things missing from them.

Most importantly, Within The Ruins still suffers from a lack of variety, melody, originality, or really anything that could make 'Empires' a fairly memorable experience. The songwriting is all alike, and if there are tight structures to the songs here, they are being obscured here by the fact that all of the ideas sound the same, be they the fills in between vocal sections where the skills of the guitarist are flaunted, the thrashy verses where the speedy riffs support angry hardcore vocals, or lastly, the times where Within The Ruins is happy to chug away with their one chord wonder breaks.

A slight improvement over what Within The Ruins had done previously, and their sound would see a further improvement on the debut full-length 'Creature'. However, the band still hasdone nothing to distinguish themselves.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#507420)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars In 2008, American technical deathcore act Within the Ruins followed up their rather weak debut EP with Empires. Also released on Innerstrength Records, this EP showed the band with a few slight improvements to their core sound introduced on Driven by Fear. Empires has a few more interesting tech-metal moments than their first effort, and even though the overall atmosphere is still pretty generic and sterile, Within the Ruins had made a step forward with this outing. I really wish the band would've done without the boring one-note breakdowns this time around, but there's still enough mildly interesting moments to keep Empires from being completely disposable.

At its core, Empires is virtually the same style we heard on Driven by Fear. That means you should expect fairly by-the-books deathcore with an additional technical edge. Fortunately, the tech-metal edge has been expanded upon slightly this time around, and it replaces a few of the previous EP's more horrific aspects. The wretched clean vocals are hardly found on Empires, and even though there are still far too many uninspired breakdowns here, they are less frequent than they were on the debut. The tech-metal aspect still isn't very remarkable, but at least it holds my interest more than boring deathcore breakdowns. The production has also been improved on Empires, and this sounds much more like a professional release than Driven by Fear.

Empires is a pretty substantial improvement over Driven by Fear, but it still isn't enough to really blow me away. Within the Ruins simply don't possess memorable songwriting tools, and their frequent 'default to breakdown'-styled compositions fail to come across as more than a mere gimmick. The musicianship and production are very strong, though, so 2 stars are pretty fair for Empires. Even though this isn't a particularly memorable effort, it may be worth a look from fans of Within the Ruins and deathcore in general.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#563988)
Posted Monday, November 07, 2011 | Review Permalink

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