Within Y
Extended Mental Dimensions

As tempting as it was to cut and paste my review of Fragments of Unbecoming’s recent album, I thought you the reader and the band deserve slightly more than that. What other than melodic death metal would you expect from a band from Gothenburg with former Gardenian drummer Thim Blom in their ranks? As to be blatantly expected Extended Mental Dimensions is one of those been there and heard it before albums that does its thing well enough to warrant your attention but really doesn’t do anything that you don’t already own called Slaughter of the Soul.

Yes, rather than the In Flames route of plagiarism, Within Y take not just a page but an entire chapter from At the Gates’ legacy and repackage it into an acceptable knock off. Solid riffs, superb musicianship, nostalgic fumes, but familiar terrain permeates this well executed but deja-vu filled album. Despite its inherent flaw, Within Y is still catchy, melodic, thrashy and tight and Andreas Solvestrom’s rasp is shamelessly Tomas Lindberg-esque. (Just listen to the “GO” in album opener “Lost in Solitude”) Choppier and more dynamic than many of the NWSDM revivalists, Within Y are at least bereft of frilly accompaniments and overindulgent harmonies, preferring a more direct approach that’s entertaining for short periods, although I personally think Nail Within’s self titled debut was even more relentless.

While well played, each track on this album seems to invoke the works of other bands; “Things” reeks of the classic ATG tune “Nausea,” while “Injection” with its late piano flourish is pure early Dark Tranquility (I actually quite enjoyed it – hoping it would flesh out rather than a simple add on for a song), and those are just two such moments that spring to mind. That being said imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and those content to listen to 2nd generation Gothenburg metal will eat this up, deservedly so as to be honest, it captures the sound of the era better than most of the clones I’ve heard, but still doesn’t stake any claim to being anything more.

Of course where else to produce such an album than Studio Fredman, which just adds to the reoccurring taste that fills your mouth upon each listen, but at least it’s a pleasant taste. I’ll admit though, “Face Down,” has its moments of pure adrenaline, if sprinkled with newer In Flames styled groove and chorus amid its short-lived carnage. Blom seems rarely challenged during the moderately similarly paced material, in fact I doubt he broke a sweat during the familiar beats, but he still delivers a tight backbone. When all is said and done, the quality of the album is pretty high, but that’s kind of expected at this point, but it lacks character above and beyond a well oiled Gothenburg sound.

To their credit, Within Y do avoid the ballad or clean vocals pitfall, thereby leaving the ATG aura untarnished with undue artistry, but the lack of identity as a whole might well have benefited from something to break its ATG stranglehold a little. Still, fans that live and breathe the Gothenburg sound can do no wrong here, because as a single entity Extended Mental Dimensions is a good album, but the shadow it thrives under is ever present throughout every note.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
March 22nd, 2004

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