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Within One
(Ibex Moon Records)

The debut album of this band from L.A. formerly known as MANSLAUGHTER and fronted by Elizabeth Shall, who handles guitars and vocals (as well as bass in the recording), comes as a nice surprise. The label Ibex Moon is better known for releasing bands in the brutish side of Death Metal, and while this one is also in that field it does possess certain different aspects. The main base of the band is of a technical Death / Thrash band with many riffing recalling the vibes of early SLAYER, something like MALEVOLET CREATION whereas a subtle touch of early DISSECTION can be heard too. Vocally, it is more akin to the vocals of Shagrath, reminding you this is a girl doing the noise. I also feel some kind of Epic Metal in their compositions, where the band is not afraid to add some acoustic passages, a lot of melody and certainly some songs come off as a bit technical. The very powerful production, with strong up-front guitars helps the band to sound powerful, yet, I think the bass is a bit buried in the mix. I must add that the guitar work is very good, with great solos and riffing, which makes Elizabeth to be not only a very capable vocalist but also a gifted guitar player. Still, with all the major virtues of this disc, there some few flaws to be found. First is the way too generic cover art... you see, I like some Travis Smith designs, those of pictures digitally managed to create some gloomy effects, but then again, it all tends to look alike. Second, at times the music sounds too much to DIMMU BORGIR and CRADLE OF FILTH and songs like 'War Machine' seem to have a deliberate flavor to that style; this is also present in some other songs in a few riffs, and unless you think those two bands are the crown of Metal, it just takes away some fresh air from the music. And third, some of the technical parts they do play, although to my ears sound interesting, at times are used in places that takes away some power. For a debut album, it has a very high level, and if only the band decides to get a more personal sound, more akin to the savagery of their early SLAYER / KREATOR influences and leaves away the other influence of the more commercial bands, they will surely be something to talk about. Yes, they should stay away from CRADLE and DIMMU and got more for BATHORY or early SODOM. Still, I am amazed by the frontwoman and I can foresee them with a deadly future.,

Julián Núńez

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