Released: 2013, E1 Records/Good Fight Music
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
With a drummer who's nickname is “Drummer” - as is the case with founding member Kevin “Drummer” McGuill - you might not think Massachusetts quartet Within The Ruins have much in the way of imagination. But their third full-length proves otherwise, as the band straddle the fine line between death metal, metalcore and math-metal, stepping liberally into the territory of each, but never really staying in one place too long – a mistake too many of their contemporaries sadly seem all too eager to make.
Elite is a jagged, jerky, epileptic fit of an album, delivering a deathcore beatdown one minute – as on the title track's “We are fucking Elite!” bravado that recalls fellow Mass-holes The Acacia Strain - before yielding to sweeping, almost power-metally harmonized leads the next, notably on the cool instrumental “Ataxia II,” even though, at least on the album, Joe Cocchi is the lone guitarist, which makes him one busy dude here.
Or, they will hammer away with the old gut-punch riff one-two then go off on spasmodic, squealy asides that will scramble your skull if you listen with earphones. The tappy, bleepy, scrapey, ants-marching licks that slingshot from left to right and back literally crawl right into your brain. It's quite a startling effect.
The technicality here is really quite staggering - the proggier likes of Periphery, Tesseract, The Faceless, etc., have nothing on these guys – and it's matched by an imposing heaviosity – to quote Woody Allen. Elite is thick, thunderous and stomps all over the place like a bull elephant, echoing Veil of Maya or the under-appreciated and now sadly split up Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza, only without the sense of humor.
Not sure how these guys will be able to pull all this off live with just one guitarist, unless Cocchi has two more arms, but on record, Within The Ruins offer a pretty masterful work whose ambitions and audacity are matched by its impeccable execution. “Fucking Elite,” indeed.