With Passion In the Midst of a Bloodied Soil

On some levels, With Passion’s mixture of metal and hardcore is satisfying. Way heavier than bands like Shadows Fall but still possessing the same melodic edge, hardcore smarts and metallic brutality, this Sacramento-based metalcore sextet also have a good amount of technical precision to their playing. But the vocals are generic and annoying, only stopping between the listener’s two ears to grate for a bit. The production is sort of strange, namely the drums — at times, the kick drum sound makes me think I’m standing outside a rave, not listening to a human being. Having said that, the drum work itself is excellent, combining some of the fastest blast beats around very sparingly amidst the inventive fills, begging the question: who is this guy? And the melodic Gothenburg-styled thrash on here is far too predictable to really get anyone excited. I’m convinced these kids got it in them to create some killer heavy music, but the metalcore clichés should be thrown out the window. (Earache)