Release DetailsLABEL Reflections of Ruin
RELEASED ON 5/25/2004
In the Midst of Bloodied Soil
posted on 6/2004 By:
With a name like With Passion and an instrumental keyboard track to start things off, it's sure easy to get these guys pegged as some sort of lame gothic act from Denmark. But no, sir. Despite the retaining of the keyboards throughout the rest of their tracks, With Passion are actually a promising metalcore band hailing from Sacramento, CA.
And oh, what a shame, as With Passion are good at what they do - playing supercharged, ultra-melodic, technical metalcore. It's just too bad that what they're doing has been done so many damn times before, only without the keyboards. But really, they play with so much energy and have a great picking style, with really sharp artificial harmonics making their way into the frenzied riffs. Extremely proficient basswork rounds out the sound, giving With Passion an incredible lead over most of their contemporaries. They manage to churn out a great dual guitar melody on "The Last Scripture" that I haven't heard the likes of since Dark Tranquility's "Punish My Heaven". There's just so much goddamn riffing going on and it's all of such quality - I just can't give this a bad score, despite my aversion to nearly all American metal bands comprised of 19-23 year olds with dyed black hair. In The Midst Of Bloodied Soil ends on a solemn note with sort of a nice dead-flowery instrumental that didn't make me feel like I should be beating myself up - an accomplishment in itself.
Despite all these glowing remarks, there are a few things the band needs to work out. The vocals, although harsh and well-timed, are incredibly layered and begin to get a bit old as the release progresses. My biggest criticism would honestly be the inclusion of keyboards and real ear-splitting guitars which are way too high on the treble. It seems on In The Midst Of Bloodied Soil whoever was in charge of production was a little too enthusiastic over their work. I'm not the kind of guy who reviles keyboards in any sort of heavy music - hell, I love Nocturnus as much as the next guy. However, when a band consciously makes the decision to use this really synthetic and poor sounding Casio tone, it really hurts. One thing I will give their producer credit for is a mind-bogglingly dumb/amazing (I mean that in a complimentary sense) part on "Darkness Doth Bring Mortality" in which the guitarwork shifts from speaker to speaker. It sounds great otherwise, though, with no instrument really getting lost in the mix and a feeling of fullness.
Ah, if only they'd ditch those keyboards (or find a better sound) and develop some sort of real distinction. With Passion is a band full of good musicians with a great sense of what sounds right. There are times when I'm quite impressed while listening to In The Midst Of Bloodied Soil, but there's just a lack of anything to set themselves apart, other than the spectacular musicianship. In any case, anyone who's been on a metalcore kick should really give these guys a listen - or at the least, keep a very close eye on them.
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