Release DetailsLABEL Galy
RELEASED ON 6/22/2004
Allied With Bitterness
posted on 8/2004 By:
You’d figure a band formed by Neuraxis guitarist Robin Milley and joined by other Neuraxite (?) bassist Yan Thiel and short time Neuraxis vocalist Chris Alsop would have some good bloodlines, and you would be right. While Canada seems to be a hotbed of extremity via either brutal, technical death metal or chaos-core, Torn Within are actually out to simplify things with a style of melodic death metal/thrash combo that successfully delivers a pleasing listen that doesn’t require much thought.
Sitting squarely between Heartwork era Carcass, latter era Death and any select NWSDM, Torn Within aren’t out to set the world on fire with their fairly tempered approach, but they do pen polished and competent tracks that are actually enjoyable in their lack of brutal histrionics: just clarity and precision.
Those wanting something bursting with energy may want to stick with Dew Scented and Corporation 187, as Torn Within only reach those levels of darting, scathing thrash rarely, instead a mid tempo pace with an emphasis on dual guitar opulence is the tone of choice. Not feverish In Flames-ish twiddling though, as even the harmonies could be considered somewhat lethargic, just a steady, moderate and continual chug layered with a slightly melodic edge and some acoustic moments for mood shifts. Alsop’s rasp is Schuldiner-esque making most words fathomable, much like the music. However, despite the intentional dexterous lethargy, Torn Within manage to entertain, as Billey’s songs writing away from his other projects seems to be an outlet for controlled musings that encompass lots of obvious influences thrown into one reigned in backdrop of crisp production and seemingly intentional ‘underplayed’ musicianship.
The technicality and general solo work is Death-ish in melody but stripped of its complexity. Imagine Death’s simplest post Human track, and you might get a rough idea of Milley’s guitar work. The other band members are just relative pieces of a puzzle; neither really dynamic nor a weak link.
Songwise, as I’ve mentioned there’s not much to really get your blood pumping, as only “King of the Ants” and the album closing title track truly raise the tempo of the album above a general plodding thrash pace, albeit laced with a melodic sheen. The other tracks (not including the 4 bonus demo tracks) seem almost too laid back despite their tight delivery. Still tracks like “Flesh Will Deceive” and “Icon” have a certain hazy eloquence to their crunch, and it’s almost a welcome change in delivery from the usual singularly paced frenetics.
My only question is why the 4 bonus demo tracks were not reworked and put in the album rather than tacked on the end? They would have benefitted greatly from the Yannick St-Amand production (Neuraxis, Martyr, Ion Dissonance), especially the rather enjoyable "Behind Shadows".
On the whole though, I actually expected a little more from this album considering the members, but Allied with Bitterness is still a solid album of controlled death/thrash that may not get too many folks excited with its slightly lethargic pace, but those with a more astute ear may appreciate the embellishments to the death/thrash it brings.
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