Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In the Midst of Lions - The Heart of Man

This is a band that can accurately be considered 100% pure, traditional, generic deathcore. I first discovered these guys in 2009 when they only had one album out, so I had already heard these guys before and liked them enough to look up this album when I saw it had been released. Deathcore has been around long enough to have a traditional generic sound that bands can take and add on their own creativity to. There are some bands that have decided to keep the pure deathcore sound alive like Eat a Helicopter (funny name), Chelsea Grin, I Declare War, Suffokate, and In the Midst of Lions. I am sorry to say that these kind of traditional deathcore bands rarely impress me. I’ve been listening to deathcore since its first explosion in 2007 when I heard bands like Suicide Silence, Bring me the Horizon, All Shall Perish, Heaven Shall Burn, Born of Osiris, Despised Icon, Whitechapel, and Lamb of God. Almost five years of being an active deathcore fan, I feel that I’ve become extremely familiar and knowledgeable with the genre. Although the majority of the traditional deathcore bands I’ve heard failed to impress me, the ones I listed above (including Chelsea Grin, Suffokate, etc.) are some of the few that have succeeded in reaching out to me and catching my positive attention.

Traditional deathcore really isn’t as brutal as bands like Suicide Silence, Carnifex, and Whitechapel. Those bands mix a lot of brutal death, death metal, and occasionally some grindcore in with their music. The breakdowns that In the Midst of Lions pull off are good for headbanging, but not the kind that cause you to get whiplash. There aren’t very many guitar solos on this album that I can hear (shredding in deathcore is never bad). There are some melodic riffs played by the guitars but they are repetitive and drone on a little too long.

The vocalist does mainly growls, but he can do a good scream although it’s not super high-pitched. The drumming is kind of boring with the only interesting parts occurring with the complex footwork during the breakdowns. The blast beats that he does are way too short and seem to be placed randomly without much thought on how dramatically it can change the sound of the song. The drummer is really the powerhouse behind the breakdown. The thing that really makes that drop in tempo sound good or bad usually leads back to what the drummer is doing; and in this case, the drummer is doing the exact same thing during every breakdown.

Now that I’m done complaining, let me tell you that this album is in fact worth checking out. Although it’s something that I don’t listen to very often, it is enjoyable to have as background music because there isn’t really anything interesting that grabs your attention. The production quality is impressive, there is quite a bit of bass which is never bad, and the guitarists and the bassist are extremely tight with each other. The biggest improvement that they can make is making the drummer tight with the rest of the band. If they can do that, their music will sound so much better and much more professional. Overall, this album is better than average, but not amazing, I would recommend this mainly just to you deathcore fans. I would rate this album 13/20.