Officially known as the "Quit Your Band, Get A Real Job" tour, two great hardcore/ metal acts out of Nashville, As Hell Retreats and A Plea For Purging, are breaking up. A Plea For Purging has released six albums, and As Hell Retreats have released two. The tour is not coming through Oklahoma, but there is a stop at Tomcats West in Ft Worth, TX. Since this is the last chance for anyone to get to see them, I want to give my short review of As Hell Retreats' year old album, Volition, and hopefully entice more people to catch both bands for their last show.
I picked up the CD, Volition, one day after I had listened to a few of their videos on YouTube. I was actually hoping at the time to get the first album, Revival, but they didn't have it in stock. I'm glad they didn't because, although it wasn't quite what I expected, I now feel it is much improved over their first release. This album takes off freely in its own direction, and does not seemed to be tied down by musical stereotypes of the genre. The vocals are powerful and understandable, but there are no pig squeals, no harmonized growls with hi pitched screams, as they are successful at maintaining originality. The phrasing doesn't get tiresome, and has some great shout-a-long lines throughout.
The guitar lines are pretty non-typical. Not everything is in a minor key, and their aren't overused tritones during the (very few) breakdowns on the album. Some of the guitar playing is very melodic and usually the perfect amount of "edge" is placed in the tone. The songwriting is cohesive, all of the elements fit together very well. The lyrical content stays far from any 'preachy-ness', but is emotional and real.
Some of the standout songs, or my favorites, are the two part "A Beggar..." and "...And His Faith", which starts out emotional and slow, and then picks up to be one of the hardest thrashers on the album. The 'hit single' is the song "Matriarch", which they made an interesting video for. It ends with "Only Hope", a hard ballad which finishes the album off very nicely with male/female duet vocals, and shows off their ability to sound 'clean', and still remain powerful. The album moves through its songs very well, maintaining a flow that carries you through its tracks. For anyone looking for something differently melodic in the hardcore/metalcore genre, this is one you should definitely check out.
Go see them LIVE