Sound — 9
Within The Ruins have always been one of the true gems in the overcrowded world of the "core" genre, and with this record they definitely took a step forward in their musical growth. "Elite" is the follow-up to their critically praised 2010 record "Invade", which already was a pretty big statement with a fresh and innovative sound. In "Elite" you can still find their signature sound, but you can feel it has evolved. At the base guitarist Joe Cocchi brings in his new signature Acacia baritone guitar, which has a thicker and "fatter" sound already. The new bass player Andrew Tate (ex-And Hell Followed With) is at his first WTR record, and he delivers a solid rhythmic performance as well. The thing that stands out the most though is still Cocchi's guitar work, with groovy riffs, fast licks, lots of harmonies and some well put breakdowns. His riffs are, if possible, even more technical and fast, and overall more compact than in their previous material. I'd say you can tell he had organic ideas for complete songs rather than single riffs, being the only guitar player now in the band. So in the end the WTR sound is still there, but with a new twist and some new interesting ideas that help to keep it interesting and never boring, which is not an easy task when Deathcore/Metalcore is the most "a la mode" genre out there. Highest points to me are first single "Feeding Frenzy", "Ataxia II", "The Charm" and "Weightless".
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics, when seen from an overall perspective, do their job, delivering some powerful images, but it feels like vocalist Tim Goergen could have raised the bar more than that. In general the topics are not really new around town, but still there are a few pretty interesting highs in them with songs like "New Holy War", "The Charm" (which is a Dexter reference) or even "Absolute Hell" but they are more like a new take on something already discussed. The performance though is pretty solid, with Tim delivering some powerful highs and deep lows, and still sticking to a mid-low tone most frequently, with some new though short talked parts, which I think he could have explored more.
Overall Impression — 8
With this record Within The Ruins give birth do a very good successor to their previous record "Invade", keeping the quality very high, but maybe not completely topping it in the end. Still we are talking about one of the few bands that honestly doesn't sound pretty much like anything you could hear around these days, which is something they have to be praised for and has to be acknowledged. I still feel like this is a mind blowingly cool and solid record, enjoyable from first to last track, obviously with some highs and lows like every other record, but Within The Ruins manage to keep you interested all along. Maybe a little more work on the lyrics and a few here and there corrections could have turned it into an excellent record, but it still is a step forward for the band, bringing in new ideas and twists as they do since their first record "Creature" until now with "Elite". In the end I'm definitely happy I preordered it and suggest to anyone looking for an incredibly fresh and interesting take on Tech Metalcore/Deathcore to go on and buy it.