HELL WITHIN Call It Quits

Guitarist Tony Zimmerman issued the following statement on the band’s Facebook:

“We’re sad to announce that Hell Within has called it quits. Hell Within will be playing our last show on 11/11/11 at the Village Smoke House in Lowell MA. We’d like to thank everyone that supported us over the years and made this band happen. It’s been a long hard road, but the most enjoyable experience of our lives. All across the U.S. this band traveled, met tons of great people and experienced things that we will cherish forever. Hell Within released 3 records, had 2 recording contracts, did countless tours and shared with so many people something that is so precious to us. To all the band members that we ever played with, to our record labels Lifeforce and Thorp records, we will never forget you guys. From our 1st manager Cynthia Donovan to our latest manager Damon Moreno we thank you for dedicating so much time to us. Then to all the great companies like Jagermeister, Dean Guitars, B.C. Rich, Mesa Boogie, GHS, D’Addario etc.. that endorsed us we thank you so much for the support. We’d like to thank our family and friends for always being there for us through the good and tough times. I could go on and on, because the list never ends, just too many people and memories to count. Please come out to the 11/11/11 Village Smoke House show and for one last time, help us make one more memory that everyone will never forget.”

Review: Unearth – “Darkness in the Light” (Metal Blade Records)

UNEARTH is back and in case you didn’t get the memo, play time is over. They were at the forefront of modern metal and helped invent and popularize metalcore when no one else was doing it. Then all the copycats came and rather than be lumped in with the bandwagon jumpers, they switched up their style. The resulting change yielded solid and occasionally great music, but something was always missing. Now back to the style that made The Oncoming Storm a modern classic comes their new record, ready to stomp the competition into submission and serve notice to all in their way.

From the very start of opening track “Watch It Burn” the sound of the band is unmistakably classic UNEARTH. Energized songs chock full of crazy guitar melodies, tasteful breakdowns and plenty of mosh pit fodder the song is a great start to these proceedings. Vocalist Trevor Phipps turns in some of his sickest screaming since the start of this band and we’re only talking about the first song here. When guitarist Ken Susi lays down a melodic backing vocal part and it’s followed up by a crushing groove, it becomes 2003 all over again in my ears.  “Ruination” kicks off with a chugging thrash guitar line that will have you pumping your fist in the air and smiling. The power groove during the verse is pure badassery. There are plenty of great riffs courtesy of Susi and his partner in crime Buz McGrath while the drumming was handled by Justin Foley (KILLSWITCH ENGAGE/BLOOD HAS BEEN SHED). Although not a permanent member Foley definitely improves the rhythmic quality of the album over his predecessor. The song’s ending mosh part is a brutal, epic piece of music. Third track “Shadows in the Light” is a great slice of classic sounding metalcore with three guitar solos that will knock your balls off. This song has yet another throwback chorus part full of graceful melody and harshness at the same time. Fourth track “Eyes of Black” may be the hardest song the band has ever produced with a main riff that will tear you a new asshole.  Phipps again doing some of his best work ever shifting between his hardcore screams and his death metal bellow. “Last Wish” is another cut with a stomping groove, snaking riffs and crazy blast beats. The awesome sing-a-long parts are huge as are the solos. Many of these songs seem just made to be played live and I do hope we get a good dose of them when the band hits the road this summer.  “Arise the War Cry” is my favorite cut here and is easily one of the bands’ best ever. From a technical standpoint it is a pretty flawless, pure metal and catchy too. For a change of pace a delicate piano and more cool guitar work highlight the contemplative, but still heavy “Equinox”. Then they ratchet things back up to full speed with “Coming of the Dark” and “The Fallen”. As if by design all of the songs are relatively short, make their point and leave rather than regurgitate parts. Unearth has made a monster comeback record even though they didn’t really need to since they never really went away in the first place.

RATING: 9.5 / 10
By: Keith “Keefy” Chachkes
Band Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/unearthofficial

Review: The Soulless – “Isolated” (Earache Records)

What’s in a name? It’s an age old question and one that often applies to metal bands. Sometimes the best named bands suck and the reverse is also true at times. What makes a name cool and resonate with someone and still be appropriately metal may still be an x-factor, as yet undiscovered. THE SOULLESS have a cool name, are about to drop a new album and may seem relatively new to the game with one other album to their credit. However, this UK band was known as IGNOMINIOUS INCARCERATION just over two years ago. Alliteration aside (yes I am a writing nerd and a grammar ninja!) it doesn’t roll off the tongue or sound as grim and badass as THE SOULLESS. Now word comes down that Earache Records has been served with legal papers by another band in Ohio claiming to own that name. Who knows what that means for these guys going forward, but one thing is certain: their new album is a crusher!

There are a lot of people who will tell you metalcore has seen its day and we should stick a fork in it. Well you can say that about a lot of bands and sub-genres, but for the most part good music is still good music. THE SOULLESS play an unrelenting style of metalcore that owes as much to old-school ALL THAT REMAINS and UNEARTH as it does their countrymen in BRING ME THE HORIZON. Blowing the doors off with the opening track “Unaltered”, the track is a true killer. Chugging riffs, ferocious beats and raging vocals. Andy Wardle’s brutal delivery has the urgency of a Jamey Jasta and the gravel in the throat of a Vincent Bennett (THE ACACIA STRAIN). To his credit he leaves all the melody parts to the guitarists. His voice sits nicely in the pocket of chaos the band creates and I dig it. Second cut “The Path” opens with some dizzying riffage on the level of some of the newer techie-death bands, but then down shifts into a straight ahead thrash motif. This band is not afraid to mix it up musically, occasionally adding some blast beats and death-core breakdowns. Guitarists Steve Brown and Kristan Dawson do a nice job of intertwining their parts together. Bassist Chris Ball is solid, but doesn’t stand out much. “Earthbound” is another over the top track with some more strong playing by Dan Wilding behind the kit and a sick string-skipping lick in the verse. After a neat piano interlude called “13th Morning” comes “New Perspective” which might be the strongest track here. I’m certain I won’t be anywhere near a mosh pit for this song live unless I want my face kicked in. Holy crap! Other choices cuts are “Clones”, “Unite Us” and “Without Heart”.

Most of the record follows suit with similar sounding tracks of varying degrees and feels a little formulaic on repeated listens. On the plus side, it’s really heavy and a fun listen. Also, it is really short at about thirty minutes which seems to be the order of the day lately. Every band out there can learn a lesson from this which is keep it tight and to the point at all times!

RATING: 8 / 10
By: Keith “Keefy” Chachkes
Band Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheSoullessband