Music: an expression of humanity, escape, a soundtrack to life, deep passion….
I was a huge fan of As Hell Retreat’s debut album, Revival. But I understand why a lot of people wouldn’t have been. There wasn’t anything super special about. But it was a pretty solid modern metalcore/death metal album. So I was looking forward to Volition.
My first thought is, if you didn’t like Revival, don’t write off Volition. As Hell Retreats really stepped up their game and flipped their sound. Violation is still brutal and heavy but the overall sound takes on a more melodic feel. Tyler Riley’s guitar riffs are much more interesting on Volition.
Young Heretic kicks the album off, and fans of As Hell Retreats will instantly notice the band going in a new direction. The song is super melodic and instead of your typical breakdown there’s a lone clean guitar being strummed before breaking back into the chorus. The Loss is an instrumental Dillinger esque jazzy guitar before busting into Matriarch. Matriarch is more along the lines of what I expected to hear but even then, there are a lot of nice melodic undertones in the guitar. Shun, Heaven’s Bane, and Misanthropist are all similar brutal tech-death metal tracks in the vein of Revival. A Beggar switches things up. Really minimalist in sound, a lot of single strikes, as Jackson Greene’s vocals and lyrics take center stage.
In a scene that’s over run with bands that all sound the same, As Hell Retreats does a good job at switching up their sound just enough to distinguish them from their peers. It might not be new and As Hell Retreats isn’t reinventing the wheel but Violation does break free from the pack. If you weren’t a fan of As Hell Retreats, Volition is different enough from Revival to give these guys a second chance.