Internal Conflict – A P O R I A
Release Date: 09/07/2021
Running Time: 40:15
Review by Simon Black
It’s always heart-warming when a band from my erstwhile neck of the woods gets to that next level. Internal Conflict are one of those bands that has taken their winning slot from Metal To The Masses to the Bloodstock New Blood Stage in 2013 and absolutely run with it, returning to the Sophie stage a few years later and pulling in a record deal along the way. For many that triumphant first day at Bloodstock is as high as it goes, but these Leicester boys have taken things forward with energy, determination and sheer bloody mindedness and they are going to be back playing the Sophie Lancaster Stage this year. With a full album and an EP already under their belt, it’s been several years since we heard anything from them and if the quality of the material on here is anything to go by, they have spent those last three years wisely, crafting a sophomore album that feels natural, fresh and thoroughly Modern. As is so often the case with bands with a Progressive streak, they’ve managed the writing and recording process themselves, utilising the not inconsiderable talents of producer Neil Hudson (Krysthla) for the mixing and mastering. And it doesn’t sound like he came in at the end of the process either, which tells me that these chaps have learnt the value of a pre-production process themselves – no easy trick for a band to master, but master it they have.
The music continues the themes of darkness and challenge that have been their stock in trade over the years, with recent global events having added plenty of fuel to the lyrical fire. It’s moody, it’s angry and it’s thoroughly brilliant. Add to this an incredible fresh Melo-Death mixed vocal style that works brilliantly over the complex Progressive instrumental delivery and what I have in my hands is one of the strongest records of the year so far.
Opening with the brutally emphatic rhythmic pounding of ‘Kingdom Of Apathy’, this is an album that does not pull its punches. ‘Paresthesia’ has a brutal and complex cacophony of beats and melodies that is both dizzying and focussed simultaneously, and the technically blistering tightness of ‘Atlas Down’ is unrelenting brutality at its best. This is heavy as fuck Prog Metal in a way I’ve never come across before – it shouldn’t work but it absolutely does. The album keeps the anger and energy throughout its forty minutes as well without sounding repetitive, but throws in tempo shifts that completely contradict where the song started from, but brilliantly emphasis the lyrical content like the sudden reveal in a penultimate episode of a Netflix TV show. The album closer ‘Kayfabe’ is absolutely worth holding out for. The double-bass drum work, interlaced with an almost Gothic guitar and keys melodic interplay, but weaved across with some brutal shredding and a few moments of pause and grace make this one of the most rewarding and well-crafted songs on the record – plus it’s going to be a bugger to play live.
So please, if you are going to Bloodstock this year, please drag your hungover arse out of your tent for that opening graveyard Sunday morning Sophie slot, because it looks like it’s going to be an absolute doozy…
‘Bleed The Sky’ (Official Video)
01. Kingdom Of Apathy
03. Atlas Down
04. Bleed The Sky
05. Hollow Heart
07. The Line
Adam Kyle – Vocals
Sean Rice – Guitar, Synth
Matt Hall – Guitar, Clean Vocals
Dan Laffar – Bass
Chris Bentley – Drums
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