Hell Within Shadows of Vanity

Lifeforce is a label that pumps out a whole lot of bands that have the same sound: Gothenburg-fried thrash with hardcore breakdowns. Throw in a couple goth-tinged bands and that’s the roster in a nutshell. But Massachusetts’ Hell Within stand out on the label mainly because they’re just damn good. Not groundbreaking, not incredible, just damn good. Here, the band expand on the thrash foundations they laid down on their last, Asylum of the Human Predator, and add in more Metallica worship. The title track kicks off the album with a bit of everything the disc offers, from old school thrash that brings to mind Exodus or Testament to Pantera/Lamb of God tough guy groove, throwing in some melodic vocalising to boot. "My Exit in Red” is a high point, with great melodic thrash riffs that you may have heard before but that’s no reason not to hear them again. The album gets a bit monotonous but at nine songs doesn’t drag on for too long. And yeah, it’s got the Lifeforce signature of blazing-hot Swedish melodic thrash all over it. Hardcore edge? Check. But it rocks harder than their label mates, or any other band doing this for that matter. It’s like Trivium without the cheese factor. Hell Within have got the chops, the attitude and the spirit, just not the hype. Metalheads are going to appreciate them more but will have to dig a bit deeper into the underground to find them. (Lifeforce)