When it comes to metal countries, Slovakia won’t be the first that comes to mind (it didn’t even exist as a category on this site yet!). The little Eastern European country, sandwiched between Poland and Hungary, has scarcely become a hotbed for metal since splitting from its Czech twin, with the biggest name perhaps power metal band Signum Regis. The amount of you going “Who?” just confirms my point. Nevertheless, Within Silence is joining the ranks and dropping their sophomore album Return From the Shadows, a slab of heavy power metal that doesn’t pull the cheese out of their punches. With a band name that sounds like metalcore and an album cover that reminds of progressive metal rather than a platter of Rochefort, can the Slovak fivesome overcome such prejudices, punch upward and put their country on the map?

If they can’t, it won’t be the hooks that are to blame. Opener “We Are The Ones” and subsequent single “Heroes Must Return” are catchy, if a bit basic, Europower. Helloween trademarked lead guitars are the first thing you notice, including the galloping drum rolls and melodic noodling. Powerwolf inspired mid-range vocals with a frayed edge swiftly follow, backed by plenty of backing vocals for anthemic antics. “Calling From the Otherside” and lengthy closer “Return From the Shadows” have strong Iron Maiden flavorings in the riffs, with the latter sporting a lead around its halfway mark that seems a straight-up homage to “Afraid to Shoot Strangers.” Through all of this, the melodramatic epicism is kept at an appropriately high level. Martin Klein’s baritone soars with a commanding strength, occasionally joined by choirs for that extra burst of Emmenthaler, particularly on centerpiece “In The Darkness.”

This track is where we have to discuss the elephant in the tracklist. “In The Darkness” takes over 16 minutes to run its course, padding the album to an unwieldy 59 minute length. Although it’s a decent track, it doesn’t feel like it earns its length, particularly when compared to the closer which contains more compact songwriting and doesn’t make me glance at my watch even once. The total album length is similarly not problematic by itself, but in context of the music it feels unearned, specifically because of the lack of original personality. I’ve so far named a mere 3 bands for comparison, but there’s a plethora of “where have I heard this before” moments, from the mawkish piano intro to “The Final Victory” to the Eurovision-ready chorus of “You & I.” It puts a minor damper on the performances, which are solid across the board, and the catchy hooks. With a more identifiable personality, Within Silence would have liftoff without a hitch, but as it stands, Return hamstrings itself with too readily read influences.

The production is not entirely without its issues either. Return is a great way to demonstrate how higher quality listening equipment can reveal flaws that go unnoticed on a phone — or car speaker. The sound is quite clean and the mix is solid enough to be enjoyable on lower fidelity hardware, but better gear reveals a flat and underrepresented bottom end. The production lacks layers and depth, both crucial elements for a truly great listening experience, and as such left me underwhelmed on my best headphones. If your main music moments are in the car, however, these demerits go generally unnoticed, so your mileage may vary.

All in all, Within Silence are a decidedly mixed bag. On the negative side of Anubis’ scale, Return is overlong and the band struggles to stamp their own identity on the disc. Too many dejas are vu’d here, and as usual, that mostly awakens an urge to listen to the predecessors that inspired the album. On the positive side, the performances are solid and there’s plenty of enjoyable cheese and catchy hooks. If you have a heart made of dragonfire and a closet full of roleplaying manuals, you’ll likely get enough mileage out of the galloping riffs and wailing leads, but in a sea of average power metal, Return doesn’t do enough to set itself apart to appeal to the casual listener. For now, it doesn’t appear like Slovakia will be the birthplace of the real ‘next big thing’ in power metal land.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Ulterium Records 
Websites: within-silence.com | facebook.com/withinsilenceband
Releases Worldwide: October 27th, 2017

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  • GardensTale

    I don’t need to guess Thatguy’s band photo meter here…

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Billy Ray Cyrus and his Amish backing band?

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Billy Ray Cyrus and the Achy Breaky Heart Amish Boys

        • I saw the Achy Break Heart Amish Boys live at a dinner theater in Pigeon Forge, TN and they did NOT disappoint.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I had to google that to verify if it was made up or actually true… these days one never knows what they’ll come up with.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Slovakia, Kentucky AMIRITE

    • Thatguy

      And I had initiated the Band Photometer before I came to the comments.

      Weird goatee, MULLET, dude, then two neck beards. Well enough played but nothing to hold my interest.

      • Let us focus on the music and not looks, you elitist bastard.

        • [not a Dr]

          That’s the horrible beauty of the band photometer: it actually describes the music.

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          Rarely do the two not corelate. …

        • kmanitou81

          Ok. :X

          “the production lacks layers and depth”
          192 kbps
          DR 6

          • GardensTale

            You’d think at some point we could stop commenting that we review what we get, and if labels send shit versions, we review shit versions (or refuse to review at all).

          • kmanitou81

            I don’t think you should refuse to review. If you get shit, you review it as shit, too bad for them.

          • GardensTale

            To be fair, I’ve only personally refused a review once based on promo file quality. That was 60 fucking kbps. We can’t review everything to begin with, and I’d rather spend that time and effort on a band/label that doesn’t disrespect us with files of such garbage quality.

          • kmanitou81

            60… ahahahah

        • Eli Valcik

          NOT TRVE ENOUGHSYOFSYFGSOWIPVWYPSB!!!!!!!!!

      • Goldicot

        that is not a mullet, old man. That is a very long undercut.

        • Thatguy

          True.

          But it amounts to the same thing.

          • Goldicot

            There, we are more agreed, but I will fight you if you imply I ever had a mullet.

          • Thatguy

            Perhaps you protest too much…

          • Goldicot

            I protest that notion.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Hey…those chin straps are keeping their hair on their heads……

  • Eli Valcik

    That band pic is what I imagine Slovakia’s version of Supernatural to looks like.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Ass butt

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    TRY SOME CURLS FOR GODS SAKE

    • John Mosley

      Cheese curls?

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        NO.

    • Tofu muncher

      They’ve got mullet for crying out loud. Isn’t that enough?

  • sir_c

    Question is: who has the goatpenis?

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      My money is on one of the Amish dudes….

    • They play that game on the video board at Black Hawks games. I never seem to win.

  • It’s alright but it’s no Hero For the World.

    • Adam Beasley

      I love you. LOL

      • I’m not sure how I should feel about that but I’m glad someone appreciated the comment.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    I suggest we photoshop Goatpenises on everything; as it seems that the word ‘Goatpenis’ will be featured in the comment section for the next month or so.

  • Tofu muncher

    “…with the biggest name perhaps power metal band Signum Regis.” Their 2017’s album is nice, despite its offering nothing new. With songs titled The Future King, Train to Neverland, Kingdom of Light, you know what to expect, rly

  • madhare

    The embedded track sounds like power metal generated though tv shows like American Idol or X-Factor (or whatever it’s called). That kind of lifeless plasticky stuff.

  • Do people in The Czech Republic have buzz-cuts with long bangs, then?

    • Name’s Dalton

      It’s very Maynard Keynes circa 1994

  • Bruce Jones

    ‘Too many dejas are vu’d here’ :) (I am definitely going to steal that one!)

    Very apt description.

  • maartje

    Lunatic Gods is a criminally underrated band from Slovakia. Check out their first 2 albums (and start with opening song “Dead but free” from their 2nd one).

  • maartje

    “a platter of Rochefort” ? You probably mean Roquefort cheese ? Rochefort is one of the famous trappist beers.