• Rating: 4.5 / 6

I had not previously had the privilege of listening to the atmospheric and punishing metal soundscapes conjured up by the British ensemble known as Internal Conflict but let me tell you right off the bat that I am glad Stampede Press mailed this one my way as it absolutely slays. So, what do we have here? Nothing less than a stellar eight-track offering that blends metalcore, melodic yet aggressive heavy metal, and progressive metal to great effect.

This well-produced effort contains an abundance of sharp, precise riffs and more twists and turns that you and I can possibly wrap our heads around, which means that there is never a dull second within these guys’ musical sphere and they sure know how to vary the pace and feel of the songs. Lyrically, this one really appeals to me in that they discuss and reflect on many interesting aspects of what it means to be a citizen of the 21st century and all that it entails, which is nicely underlined and emphasized by the many melancholy melodies that constantly appear throughout. Another thing that I find really intriguing and captivating is the many layers present in each song and how cool the arrangements are. There is drive, focus, and discipline on display from beginning to end, but more importantly, the tunes are memorable and manage to move the listener due to their emotional weight. Perhaps the finest piece of work is the track titled "Kingdom of Apathy", which sits somewhere being fierce, moving, and strangely beautiful. On top of that, it boasts a fantastic chorus. Other highlights are the pounding "The Line", the semi-groovy "Traitorous", and the ferocious and thrash-influenced "Atlas Down".

"A P O R I A" benefits from possessing a touch of something raw and edgy while also packing a serious punch and sounding quite massive, so it basically works like a charm for yours truly on so many different levels. As dark and bleak as it may be at times, there is something invigorating and uplifting about this one and those of who you favor modern metal music that is both inventive and inspired ought to check it out.

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