Hell Within
Shadows of Vanity

Ugh. I just hate it when good or decent music is ruined with below average vocals. Example: this new Hell Within disc Shadows of Vanity. Musically, it’s accessible modern thrash with some melody, ala Sanctity or recent Trivium. Vocally, it’s the standard harsh/clean trade off sound of metalcore, courtesy of one Matt McChesney, who most of you know has since departed the band for The Autumn Offering.

The self-titled album opener is somewhat misleading, as McChesney’s vocals are at their best, his clean variation resembling Chuck Billy a good deal laid over some solid thrash riffing. Things only go downhill from here, as the clean vox take on a more emo-esque approach, hitting bottom by the third track titled “Lay Down Your Arms” which has MTV video written all over it (maybe it’s already been made?). “In the Absence of Fire” opens with some nice melodic leads, but is then wrecked by weak clean vocals, and so goes for the majority of the album. Things pick up a bit with the brisk speedster “Between the Dead and the Deceived” where the clean vocals are left at the door making it more tolerable than most.

Looking back at the review I wrote of this at a different site several months ago, I’m not quite sure what I was thinking. Most likely it was the axe work that I liked, but I’m not quite sure how I overlooked the not-so-great vocals – they turn what could have been a decent, even if a bit generic and forgettable, listen into “how much longer is this damn thing?” Now that McChesney’s out of the picture, I’ll be keeping an eye out to see what Hell Within does next.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
February 1st, 2008


Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Ad Patres - Unbreathable
  • WyndRider - Revival
  • Unleashed - Before the Creation of Time
  • Ulcerate - Cutting the Throat of God
  • Assassin - The Upcoming Terror/ Interstellar Experience (Reissues)
  • Nyrak - Devourer of All
  • Summoner’s Circle - Cult
  • Kratti - Matka Kohti Kosmista
  • Suffering Souls - An Iconic Taste of Demise
  • Vale of Pnath - Between the Worlds of Life and Death
  • Pathology - Unholy Descent
  • Ischemic - Condemned to the Breaking Wheel
  • Terminal Nation  - Echoes of the Devil’s Den
  • (Un)Worthy - This Present Darkness
  • Severe Torture - Torn From the Jaws of Death