Arising from the ashes of metal outfit Forethought, It Lies Within formed back in 2007 and hail from the infamous American town of Flint, Michigan. The area, that is labelled by Americans as “Murder Town” due to it having the highest murder rate to person ratio in the USA, has been recently popularised by another heavy metal group, namely King 810.
Rather than glorify and play on the dangerous links to their heritage (as King 810 evidently do), It Lies Within display messages of positivity as they look to counter their roots through their music. Second record, ‘Paramount’, is further evidence of this mentality, setting the listener on a winding journey of uplifting and combative energy.
At the heart of this record is an undeniably generic nod to modern metalcore. Yes, there are harsh verses. Yes, there are clean-vocalled choruses. Yes, there are breakdowns. But, there are elements that make ‘Paramount’ different to the numerous cookie cutter bands in the scene right now. Some of these are shown during first track proper, ‘Ecdysis’. There’s an almost haunting atmosphere in some of the electronic samples used throughout the track with a chuggy guitar riff to help add some grit to the melodic edge of their sound.
‘Starscream’ showcases the aforementioned positive vibes with an anthemic chorus that links the groove-filled rhythm attack to the Crossfaith-style mix of synth and electronic bombast that is heavily at the forefront of It Lies Within‘s core sound. It’s at this point that it must be stated that some of the electronica work is certainly tried and tested, and has often been previously paraded by the likes of Memphis May Fire and blessthefall.
The thread continues through the middle of the album with little variety other than slight experimentation with vocal hooks, and the odd tempo change here and there. There are times when the landscape changes; ‘Never Surrender’ introduces some gang vocals interspersed within a decent melodic chorus, while ‘Light The Way’ houses a deathcore style breakdown showing the band straying from the bread and butter metalcore template that the rest of the record descends into.
Listening to the final few tracks triggers the mind into thinking how much of the album is a monotonous fusion of synth and breakdown. While this is a solid metalcore album, and make no mistake this is very much a band staying within their comfort levels, the lack of progression and uniqueness makes it difficult to strongly recommend It Lies Within against the countless other bands that are around at the moment. A solid production throughout helps give everything a level of polish that lends strength to the music, but could also make it difficult to translate well to the live environment, thanks to the constant transition between synth and heaviness and the near perfectly auto-tuned vocals.
Written by Neil Criddle