All Out War: Into the Killing Fields

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All Out War: Into the Killing Fields
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All Out War: Into the Killing Fields
Hardcore
Victory Records
August 3rd, 2010
Release length: 35:21
Myspace
Into the Killing Fields marks the fifth full-length effort from All Out War, and once again the band continues to evolve. It seems with each release, the band continues to grow heavier and a little more intense. With Into the Killing Fields, that progression in the band’s sound can be heard all over the place, from the tigher music that hits the listener hard, to the more Grindcore style shouting vocals that work well with the quicker pace much of this album has. But, does this new interpretation of their NYC Hardcore sound make the band stand out more, or sink back into the shadows?

All Out War have definitely picked themselves up as far as music goes since the past few albums. While the band’s material has always focused on a strong NYC-branded Hardcore style, there wasn’t anything all too unique or original about it in any sense. However, witth Into the Killing Fields, the band has amped up the intensity of the music through stronger guitar work that doesn’t really go past the mid-tempo paced, but still fills the recording well against the paced drumming that helps amplify the hard hitting sound of the music, especially during the breakdowns in songs like “From Manipulation to Martyr”. The biggest change here is the more rhaspier, higher pitched shouting that accompanies the work. This change of pace actually brings in a whole new element to the music, bringing some of the music on this release more into the fields of bands such as Napalm Death, who utilize a signature vocal style such as this one more for Grindcore then just straight forward Hardcore. These vocals actually wind up making Into the Killing Fields sound more raw then anything, giving it a little more power then it would have, since the vocals actually sound a little lower and back in the recording instead of just being a generic lower toned scream thrown on top of everything.

The only track to really break the mold here is the title track “Into the Killing Fields”. This song finds the bad succumbing to the traditional Hardcore sound they were brought up on and forged their career with. There is no denying this song is a great addition to the album, but the problem with it winds up being consistency. While this is the fastest track on here, as you progress through the song it slows down to enter a breakdown, and out come the lower shouting vocals once more and literally out of nowhere, which hurts the song thanks to how random it is, and from that point the song never picks up outside of one section where it returns to the high speed it started with, slowing down the more you progress before closing with a repeat breakdown that isn’t as impressive as the first, and back with the deeper shouting. Compared to the rest of the album, this song seems like a track the band went in with good intentions of forging, as it sounds like a great idea, much like the following “Angel Among Demons”, but just seems like the band didn’t know what to do with it, so they wound up going to generic route with it.

It’s sad that the title track, and “Angel Among Demons”, really find the band pushing back a bit into the more generic Hardcore sound, especially after such a strong start here. “Defiance Througgh Fear” is one of the stronger songs on this release, and just hits the listener with such speed and impact that it doesn’t even sound like a Hardcore album to begin with. In fact, thanks to the speed of the guitars, one could almost argue that this one seems to lean more towards a bit of a Crossover Thrash feel with more ephasis on a Hardcore sound then a Punk one. The same can even be said about the track “Mercy Killer”, which is just an intense song that clearly was composed for those that like to tear things apart in the moshpit. This track, too, has the same bite to it as “Defiance Through Fear”, and even has some deeper shouting like on “Into the Killing Fields”, but here it sounds deeper, almost snarled in a sense. Of course, it’s a heart breaking to hear the music slow down after this and continue to go more towards a general Hardcore sound that one would expect, such as with the track “Fear Those Who Claim Divinity”, but the song’s slower pace makes up for some of the generic musical output, and the distortion on the guitars do make some parts, such as the bridge after the solo and the faster paced sections, continue to sound heavy and enjoyable.

For All Out War, Into the Killing Fields is a fantastic step in the right direction.; This release has some really hard hitting songs that are just bone jarring at times, and much of what would be conasidered stereotypical fromt he group has been left at the door, aside some trace elements through the CD on specific songs. Hopefully, All Out War will continue to experiment with this sound and grow upon it, as this release shows great potential from this band, moreso then any of their previous efforts have before, as well as make this a release fans of Hardcore should check out.

01. Defiance Through Fear – 4:14
02. Mercy Killer – 3:11
03. Apathetic Goodbye – 4:27
04. Fear Those Who Claim Divinity – 4:55
05. From Manipulation to Martyr – 4:15
06. Into the Killing Fields – 4:28
07. Angel Among Demons – 2:34
08. Standing in Silence – 3:23
09. Still Crucified – 3:53
Overall Score: 7/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Records.