Release DetailsLABEL Lifeforce Records
RELEASED ON 4/19/2005
Asylum Of The Human Predator
posted on 3/2005 By:
Am I supposed to take this seriously? Every now and then you come across a release so derivative, so insultingly impotent that it is almost impossible to see it as anything more than elaborately orchestrated satire. Hell Within is one of these bands, a haplessly contrived pile of monotony that will almost certainly lower your intelligence quotient upon exposure.
Imagine, if you will, a flawless amalgamation of every cliche and stereotype surrounding modern metalcore today- the Swede tremolo picking, the raspy Lindberg wannabe vocals, the galloping, triggered double bass drums, the clean vocal hooks, the liberal use of a chugga-chugga breakdowns. Toss in a healthy helping of the tough-guy posturing and crossover tendencies so favored by Full Blown Chaos and Hatebreed, and you have Hell Within. For a better reference point, picture the newest Caliban and It Dies Today records being played by Throwdown. While Caliban's last record was a horrifying facsimile of an already repugnant record (Killswitch Engage's most recent effort), this record is a formulaic emulation of The Opposite From Within. I assure you, it really is that bad.
Vocalist Matt's style spans a range of screeches, rasps, shouts and croons, all of which have been done MUCH better by the likes of Dwid, Phil Anselmo and Sean Ingram. The clean vocals are just as unwelcome on this release as they were on the Caliban record, which to this day remains one of the very worst records I have had the misfortune to evaluate. Yet, even the new Caliban endeavor had a smidgen of positives- as artificial and commercially-inclined as it was, several hooks had undeniable potential. This record has virtually no redeeming qualities- the production is triggered, polished and ductile, the vocals hollow and uninteresting despite Matt's spirited efforts to prove otherwise, the riffs laughably predictable, the time shifts even more so. Hell, they even threw gang vocals onto a handful of tracks...it's almost like the band is desperately trying to cover each and every cliche available to them, each song a mere extension of this comic crusade.
I really, really wish there was something positive I could say about this record, but for every promising moment that surfaces on this disc, I can't help but feel like some other band has produced that moment with far more gusto and far more vitriol than Hell Within appear capable of mustering. While I concede that I typically have absolutely no interest in modern metalcore whatsoever, I do regard myself a fan of several leading lights- Burnt By The Sun and the latest Heaven Shall Burn being two prime examples. Where HSB's Antigone succeeds, melding shades of Gothenburg with a liberal dose of epic Bolt Thrower songcraft and relentless, meticulously executed double bass, this record fails utterly, with compositions and musicianship so boring it might as well have been reproduced by a computer. I don't know what annoys me more, the fact that this record stinks beyond all belief, or the prospect, no, certainty, that Hot Topic kids will be all over it in a split second. Avoid, avoid, avoid!
posted on 4/2005 By:
Ah, the times of MetalReview.com where we present two reviews for one album. Mind boggling for some, satisfying for others - usually when we do this nowadays it'll be because we feel that some of us vastly disagree with a review, receive a large enough backlash from our readers, or just because we just plainly feel like it. In this case, we received enough complaints to warrant another opinion, however, I can't say I completely disagree with Nin Chan.
Using a mix of heavy breakdowns, chugging riffs, and melodic/Swedish thrash leanings, Boston's Hell Within are nothing new and nothing too spectacular, but they're at least solid in this metalcore game with bands like Unearth, All That Remains, and Lamb Of God at the helm. And while they can't be toted too highly regarding how inventive they are, they prevent themselves from becoming too stale with talented guitarwork which always seems to mesh extremely well with the rest of the song. There are parts that sort of approach Machinehead's modern level of cheese, like towards the last three quarters of the first track, "Godspeed to Your Deathbed," and the disheartening decision to incorporate clean-sung choruses, however I'm at least thankful that they're capable or at least well produced. As anyone who knows me is aware, I'm always griping about clean vocals and keyboards, and it's always an incredible rarity when I can tolerate one. Hell Within's, I'm extremely hesitant to say, actually work for them as they aren't the same tired melodies we've heard from the bigger names in this genre. The main vocals are a little monotonous, but the band mixes that up and alleviates what would've been a problem by using an array of different yells, gang-shouts, and different production effects. "Redemption is a Cold Body" has about the most blatant Gothenberg rip-off riff on it, but it doesn't sound as timely and impacting as it should partly because of the subdued drumwork. It's not the same beat you're used to hearing that supports the quickly picked style so well - and while it might not be a negative thing, it's alarming to hear. The song wins me over just barely with a tough and well-implemented yell in the verses. I have to chuckle a bit when I hear some sort of...guitar solo thing on "Self Inflicted Silence," which is either the fastest playing I've ever heard or some sort of studio wizardry. Either way, it's amusing. Hands down, though, "Soul Revulsion" has a brilliant solo that completely overshadows the rest of the track by resembling a combination of a Dimebag Darrell and old Kirk Hammett composition.
There is a point where things can be overproduced, and that's a particularly sore point with me on Asylum of the Human Predator. The vocals sound so processed and altered a lot of times, and the few moments where they let up and let a more natural voice shine through, it's a great relief. But regrettably, they don't do this nearly as often as they should. It's technically competent production handled by experienced and notable names; folks who've handled Godsmack, Unearth, and Shadows Fall. While this might work well for those acts, Hell Within are held back by such a clean and sterile sound, taking away what could've manifested into a gritty appeal. So I'll give them credit for producing a clear and audible album, even if it's not as fitting for the musical stylings of Hell Within.
The bottom line is that this isn't as bad as Nin Chan says. Maybe to some of you, it's an abomination on the face of the earth, but I'm certain (as the lashings have supported) that there's a market for this material. It's not for me, and it's not for Nin, but it's definitely for someone. No doubt, there's some great material on here, but the release on the whole wears a little thin towards the end. For me, it's a little standard, although I can recognize the talent, effort, and heart that went into the writing of Asylum of the Human Predator.
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