As it has been for many of the years that have preceded 2017, deathcore is in rude health. As the popularity of bands such as Thy Art is Murder and Carnifex have increased, it’s left more space for many other grief bringers to try and capitalise on the surge in interest. Enter Within The Ruins who, with their fifth album, seem set to finally break into the wider listening public. Or so it would seem.
Trying not to be too obvious with their output, there’s a distinct smell of classic rock seeping through the cracks of ‘Halfway Human’. Aside from the usual flurry of guttural breakdowns, rapid blast beats and apocalyptic vocal refrains, Within The Ruins inject a hint of swagger to proceedings with guitar solos and cocksure attitude popping up more than you’d expect.
‘Death Of The Rockstar’ is a prime example of this and sounds more like Creedance Clearwater Revival than Chelsea Grin. Back to the basics though and ‘Beautiful Agony’ is a clear highlight, with its aching atmosphere giving the battering heaviness that overlays its real substance. While ‘Bittersweet’ and ‘Ivory Tower’ are rampant and rousing in equal capacities.
Where the album seems to slip is in its length. With only one song dropping below the four-minute mark, it’s a very rich offering to consume in one sitting, especially considering how swiftly it changes pace and style. If you can stand the heat, you will definitely reap the benefits yet if you would actually want to, is a completely different kettle altogether.
As a whole, ‘Halfway Human’ is absolutely fine. What Within the Ruins have created is an album that tries to push the boundaries of what deathcore can be and, though it can be a tough pill to swallow, the better moments of brutality and groove make for at least an enjoyable listen. There is joy to be found within, but whether you will be burrowing to find them again in a few months time feels highly unlikely.
‘Halfway Human’ by Within The Ruins is released on 3rd March on Long Branch Records.
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)