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


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    […] then to Hell Within. Five years on from their debut not an awful lot has changed in their stodgy, east coast assault. The foundation is firmly rooted in […]

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