REVIEW: Within The Ruins – ‘Phenomena’

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It has only been a matter of months since the release of their earth-shattering album Elite, but Within The Ruins is back at it and dropping yet another full-length. They may seem quick to jump the gun, as bands typically spend much more time in between releases, but I for one am certainly not complaining.

Phenomena is an immense compilation of tracks featuring the impressive technicality meets colossal heaviness, with nuances of flawlessly fused synth that Within The Ruins is known for. It certainly has their signature sound, but picks up exactly where Elite left off, and highlights just how far they have come as a band in such a short span of time. In the simplest of terms, Phenomena is freaking phenomenal.

The album sweeps up the listener in the tornado of fast, heavy and sonic sounds right from the beginning with the track “Gods Amongst Men.” Tim Goergen’s larger than life vocals, the winding riffing, and merciless drumming peaked by a perfectly timed breakdown make for an unforgettable start to the album, and shows beyond doubt that Within The Ruins is a superhumanly talented group of musicians amongst mortals. The sheer brutality continues, and the track “Clockwork” is enraging in the best way, with shout-along lyrics condemning corrupt politicians. What’s not to love about that?

The album also features captivating instrumental tracks that are sure to blow anyone’s mind. “Ataxia III” being the third in its series is triple the technicality compared to its counterparts and just as (if not more) heavy. The song “Enigma” was a game changer for me. Usually finding myself bored when instrumental tracks surpass the five-minute mark, this one caught my attention and held it there with changing speeds, revolving riffs and at one point— perhaps the most aggressive rendition of the Super Mario theme song ever recorded. Convinced yet?

Anyone who is even a little bit familiar with Within The Ruins can hear a fragment of a song and know instantly it is them. They have a very identifiable sound, and this holds true for Phenomena as it has for their last two full lengths. But although they haven’t drastically changed and still sound exactly the same to some, they have refined their sound as keen listeners can pick up. They are maturing as musicians, and it is evident throughout the record. The riffing may not be as catchy as their previous releases, but this album boasts meticulously technical song writing, that though does not go down quite as smooth, is going to be highly appreciated by vigilant fans and progressive music lovers alike.
Phenomena is available on on iTunes via eOne Records and Good Fight Music.