Paul Hutchings checks out the new album by Internal Conflict, here’s what he thinks of their Modern Metal sound….
There’s been a lot of noise about Internal Conflict in my media streams recently. The band play Bloodstock in August and adverts for this album have featured in several magazines I’ve read. They’ve certainly got some quality in support. The production of Neil Hudson (Initiate Audio & Media Studios, Northampton) is superb as one would expect from the Krysthla guitarist – his record is solid. The album art grabs the attention, designed by one Domonic Sohor of Raging Speedhorn.
Internal Conflict hail from Leicester and play what is often termed ‘modern metal’. It’s a progressive combination of various genres, pulling heavily on the Metalcore field. There are bits of Machine Head, Killswitch Engage and Light the Torch evident throughout. I’m not a huge fan of this style of music. The constant tempo changes, the switch between cleans and screaming vocals and spiky djent time signatures rarely hit any of my buttons.
‘Aporia’ follows 2018’s EP ‘Nothing is Lost’ and charts the challenges the band has faced in the time between releases. Lyrically the band reflect on society and being human in such conflicted times. There’s a lot of emotion buried deep in this release, and one can view it as a cathartic process. Mental health, family breakdowns, it’s all covered. I like their outlook and attitude – “it’s okay not to be okay” is a message we need to convey more often in times when hopelessness is often the main feeling.
So, whilst the lyrical themes resonate, the music is a different matter. The band can play. The searing guitar work and thunderous drumming are brought to the fore; mixed and balanced so that non dominate but the combination is clear. There are some savage riffs and passages, countered by some delicate melodic segments which add light to the shade and darkness. The songs are well constructed and performed and at times crushingly heavy. There’s no doubt this is metal. They just don’t move me.
Jagged, staccato riffs open the album on ‘Atlas Down’. It’s a punchy, fiery song that promises much. Angry lyrics spat with venom, a brutal riff and then a pause, a shift in tempo and the cleans completely change the feel. It never fully recovers from that initial power although it tries. Second track ‘Bleed the Sky’ presents as a Machine Head cutting room floor song. The harmonised chorus and backing vocals reminiscent of Mr Flynn and co in recent times and we all know how that is turning out.
Elsewhere, the difficulty for me is remembering the songs. They lack memorable hooks or catches which would grab and pull me back to it. The rage of ‘Kingdom of Apathy’ is one of the highlights, a driving, visceral track with an aggressive vocal performance and a neat chorus to pull you back in. There’s some thunder in ‘The Line’, which rages against consumerism and kicks off at high speed, before slipping into the by now standard clean vocal contrast. I’m not sure why, but the interplay of cleans and shouty styles always jar with me. The combination doesn’t always work but this is one of the more aggressive songs on the album. ‘Aporia’ finishes with ‘Traitorous’ which deals with life’s coping mechanisms. It’s another explosive track, fierce and emotional and a decent concluding song.
It’s difficult to become fully immersed in an album that doesn’t grab you. There is plenty to like on ‘Aporia’. The thick, blistering riffs, the huge drum sound and the overall passion and fire that Internal Conflict bring. If you enjoy the modern metal sound, then this album is one that is probably on the list. And that’s good, for there are many layers to the metal onion. Will I watch them at BOA? Unlikely, but I am sure that they will make a few ears bleed.
Aporia is out this Friday the 9th July, so head over to BandCamp