'Invade' - Within The Ruins (5/10)
Throughout the career of this band, Within The Ruins have continued to impress me more and more with their technical chops, but despite all of the flashy skills on guitar, they seem to always lack in the songwriting department, where it really counts. 'Creature' showed the band developing into a more solid tech metal act rather than the deathcore of yesteryear, and for the most part, I have supported this moderate shift. However, although Within The Ruins have certainly polished up the sound they are working with here on their sophomore full length 'Invade', I cannot say that the musical experience itself has actually been improved upon, and in the end, that's all that matters.
Within The Ruins seems to be another one of those would-be metalcore bands that likely got tired of the widespread conventions of the genre, and instead got trapped in the conventions and formula of prog metalcore, a style shared by other more established acts such as Between The Buried And Me, and Becoming The Archetype. Compared to their earlier stuff 'I would say that 'Invade' takes a slightly more experimental edge, although as is evidenced by the campy aesthetic of the album cover, they still have that deathcore sound in their music. For some, that may not necessarily be a bad thing, but I'll have to say that- putting it diplomatically- I prefer Within The Ruins when they are doing their technical thing, rather than plodding along with their chug-chug antics.
The instrumentation and musicianship has been sharpened since their previous outing, and I'm even hearing some stranger sounding ideas where they are dabbling around with out-of-tune leads and such. The drummer's unrelenting style still somewhat annoys me, but even that's been improved upon. Really, the only thing about Within The Ruins which doesn't seem to be open to much change are the vocals, and they are also one of the less glorious elements in the band/ Although they are standard for the style, they are flat and dry and while getting that sense of primal anger and 'oomph' across, I don't find them enjoyable on a musical level.
Within The Ruin's greatest weakness always has been, and remains the dry songwriting, which never builds up to anything. The songs enter fast and angry, and they leave fast and angry. The static trend of the compositions really takes away much of the shock while listening to the technical riffs, because after hearing nothing but heaviness after a while, the ears of the listener begin to adjust, and soon it just gets monotonous. I really hope Within The Ruins works that out at some point, because from a technical standpoint, they are good to go. There just needs to be that one big push in the direction of good songwriting to get me liking what this band is doing.