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Within the Ruins - Creature CD (album) cover


Within the Ruins

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Creature' - Within The Ruins (5/10)

Throughout my experience with Within The Ruins, I have kept coming back to two main points about them that shape my opinion of them. Firstly, it is clear that they are very good musicians, particularly the guitarists. Secondly (and more importantly), they suffer from a lack of the things that make music memorable for me; dynamics, melodies, or even a mild sense of experimentation. Although my view on them has not always been very positive, I have stuck with them for the single fact that with each album, they kept showing more promise, and while the issue of memorable songwriting remains something of an issue, these guys certainly know how to make some riffs of stunning technicality. 'Creature' is the first full-length that Within The Ruins has done, and without a doubt, it is a significant step above anything they have had to offer on any of their EPs. Many of my issues with the band are still here largely, but they are beginning to counter their weaknesses head on with their fierce approach.

Although Within The Ruins is generally labelled as a deathcore, or metalcore band (labels I have used to describe them in the past), I find that they have strayed from these styles with 'Creature'. True, there are still a fair share of thrashy verses, gang vocals, and- yes- the dreaded breakdowns, but much of 'Creature' shows Within The Ruins blistering away on parts that make them sound closer to tech death than anything. The music throws new ideas at the listener with unrelenting speed, and by the end of the album, one is bound to feel exhausted. There are no longer any aspects of the music which outright annoy me; even the chugging breakdowns are never dwelled on long enough to start derailing the flow that these songs have.

While all of these guitar riffs are complex and indicative of an obvious tightness that the band has formed with each other, it cannot shake the fact that Within The Ruins does not do anything here that would not already be expected of them and their style. There has been that much appreciated move away from their root sound, but I still get this feeling that the music played on 'Creature' is largely technical metal-by-numbers. There are a few fleeting moments, such as the Spanish acoustic build on 'Jump Ship' that break away from this, but the technical metal itself never breaks down any walls, and suffers from a very feeling. The hardcore shouting vocals are also a tad undesirable, although that's more a matter of personal taste than anything else.

Within The Ruins is a very talented band, and up until now, they have continued to improve. However, I can only hope that they will be able to add a new dimension to their sound in the future; this dry, modern approach to technical metal is still doing very little for me.

Report this review (#507440)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Creature is the debut full-length album from Within the Ruins, and it's also their first release for major extreme metal label Victory Records. Their first two EP's didn't do much to impress me, but nonetheless I gave Creature a few spins just to see if they'd made some improvements since their rough beginning. While a slight improvement over their previous two releases, Creature is still plagued by the lifeless compositions and generic stylistic traits that restrain my enthusiasm for this band in general. Within the Ruins certainly know how to handle their instruments, but I fail to find anything on Creature that strikes me as a worthwhile musical experience.

The music on Creature lies somewhere between deathcore, technical death metal, and melodic death metal. While Within the Ruins fails at sounding too different from the hordes of deathcore outfits on the scene today, their tech-metal edge does keep things more interesting than one might expect. The tech-metal portions are pretty dry and unmemorable, but I'd take them any day over the torturous one-note breakdowns and gang-styled vocals that Creature relies upon far too heavily. As a standalone technical death metal album, Creature may have been pretty interesting - those jagged transitions between sections and dreadful breakdowns really drag down my enjoyment, though. This album is honestly a mess from a compositional standpoint, and the entire lack of memorability and coherence is ultimately Creature's greatest downfall.

Though a flawed album in many regards, this debut isn't entirely without its assets. Within the Ruins are a group of impeccable musicians (especially in the guitar department), and Creature's blinding solos and furious start-stop dynamics show within minutes that these guys have quite a bit of experience at their respective instruments. The production is also pretty good, even though the drums sound too triggered for my liking.

Overall, Creature is more or less what I expected from a Within the Ruins album at this point - fantastic musicianship and quality production, unfortunately matched with lifeless compositions and unmemorable riffs. Hardly a rewarding musical experience in any sense of the word, the most I can give Creature is 2 stars. If Within the Ruins honed in on their tech-death metal side and ditched the sterile songwriting, they may have a lot to offer - until that happens, you can easily put them in the overwhelmingly large category of deathcore bands that simply fail to deliver.

Report this review (#568368)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink

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