I've heard Elite, the third album from Massachusetts tech-metal heavyweights Within The Ruin, described as a "paint-by-numbers" affair and, while I have to admit I've never paid much attention to their previous work, initial listens do give the impression that this is an album that doesn't see the band veer to much from their signature sound.
That’s the bad stuff out of the way then because, as a "new" listener going into this with a reasonably clear mind, it’s easy to see why the tech quartet are held with high regard in that overflowing genre. You see, where the majority of tech-metal bands tend to spend their time showing off their technical wankery, Within The Ruins head down the route of writing some killer songs. Songs like the single "Feeding Frenzy" show a band with a hell of a lot in their musical armoury.
You see, while the songs show a band who've got the signature crunchy guitar sound, the simple grooves, the technical wizardy and the jackhammer delivery, they show a band who've also got the blend just right. The sound is polished without sounding emotionless, the groove is memorable without sounding predictable, and there is enough technical wizardry to keep tech fans impressed without overpowering those who are just dabbling in the genre.
With the whole thing delivered with jackhammer precision, what Within The Ruins have ended up with is an album that doesn't take them too much from their comfort zone but is of a high enough standard and with enough gusto about it to make the whole experience of listening to it to be more than enjoyable.
There isn't really much more you can say about Elite. If you’re a tech-metal junkie you will more than likely have heard this sort of thing so many times. You will, however, be able to appreciate that it is a damn fine example of a genre that, on so many times, fails to live up to the promise.
03. Feeding Frenzy
04. New Holy War
05. The Charm
06. Ataxia II
08. I, Blaspheme
09. Absolute Hell