Halfway Human - Within The Ruins
Artist: Within The Ruins
Album: Halfway Human
Genre: Metal/Technical Deathcore
Review by Steve Jenkins
Back in 2010 there was a plethora of bands all doing the same thing in the ever-growing genre of deathcore. This meant that the field was quickly becoming a competition to see who could have the nastiest sounding breakdowns and technically executed riffs/solos. There were a few bands that made it out alive and continued to make a name for themselves, such as Whitechapel, Chelsea Grin, Carnifex, and Born of Osiris, just to name a few. Within The Ruins were one of these bands.
With a strong repertoire of groovy guitars and heavy bass lines, they managed to stand out from the rest, easily walking the line between constant innovation with their sound, but never changing so much that they lost their identity or alienated their fans.
So, almost 10 years since their first release, it’s extremely gratifying to see such a dynamic band release another top notch album with Halfway Human, featuring grandiose guitar work that can still make you feel giddy after all this time. Within The Ruins have evolved in such a way that not many other bands have done with so much success, cementing them as a top dog for their own style of music.
They have also managed to triumphantly achieve something that would normally make some fans screw their nose up in disgust – yes, they have added clean singing. Provided by bass player Paulo Galang, it’s a welcome change, as it gives their sound a fresh new feel but doesn’t make them sound any softer at all. The insanely technical duelling guitars, the blistering drumming, and groove-driven bass lines still knock it out of the park on this release.
The best thing about Halfway Human is that there is no repetitiveness and everything sounds so different and original. From the opening track Shape-Shifter, with its high level of musicianship that is so brilliantly well-constructed, it’s definitely a clear indicator that the album is off to a very strong start. A perfect example of Tim Goergens high and low vocals can be found on Bittersweet, which showcases his extremely impressive range, accompanied by thunderous back and forth guitars.
Within The Ruins are also well known for their instrumentals, which are often very lively, experimental, and very technically pleasing. Ataxia IV is the albums instrumental (which is part of a reoccurring saga from their previous albums) and it is an exceptional performance, with so much energy coming from the guitarist Joe Cocchi, plus the always dependable and powerful drumming from Kevin McGuill.
Halfway Human is pretty much a flawless metalcore album from the very beginning to the very end. It uses all of the strengths that make the band so renowned for their sound, and it delivers something different which elevates them to a new level. With this album, they’ve explored ideas and music that many of their peers wouldn’t be brave enough to do, and it’s definitely turned out in their favour. After hearing this album multiple times now, I can confidently say that Within The Ruins are miles ahead of so many other bands in their genre right now, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it was a catalyst for other acts to step up their game.
4.5 stars out of 5.
Halfway Human is out now via E1 Music.
Watch the video for Objective Reality below: