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At Home In Hell - "In Home Hell" (CD)

At Home In Hell - "In Home Hell" CD cover image

"In Home Hell" track listing:

1. House of No Faces
2. Help!
3. Last Chance
4. My Pain
5. Wrong Way Home
6. Threshold
7. Glorys End / Never Again
8. Stacking Bodies
9. Systematic Makeover
10. The Dogg
11. An Untimely End
12. WalloH!
13. A Poem To Remember Her By
14. Beatrice
15. Can't Sleep
16. The Other Me

Reviewed by on January 24, 2012

"...the wrecking ball that is At Home In Hell has finally released a proper full-length, providing an hour of neck snapping riffs and mosh-inducing breakdowns."

In what has got to be among the best of Montana’s heavy exports, the wrecking ball that is At Home In Hell has finally released a proper full-length, providing an hour of neck snapping riffs and mosh-inducing breakdowns. Equal parts deranged and outraged, “In Home Hell” picks up right where the last self-titled EP left off, but with even more focus and brutality than before.

“In Home Hell” is easily somewhere between hardcore and metalcore, with a good deal of groove as well, but at times the album even feels like a death metal record in the guitar playing. The brunt of the vocal assault consists of guttural yells that are clearer than the death metal grunt, but are still delivered with a huge amount of both power and clear cut hate. When the harsh vocals are dropped the front man brings out his own version of clean vocals, which are utterly unhinged, like an insane Mike Patton in an evil clown costume. They may not be for everyone, as they get so crazy they occasionally approach cheesy, but it definitely works with the lyrical themes.

There is a good deal of keyboard and synth sounds going on, although generally not in a symphonic sense, as the chilling “A Poem to Remember Her By” is the only track that has anything even approaching a gothic or symphonic atmosphere. Whether adding a psychotic, spaced-out feel or throwing in an eerie vibe, the unique synths really take the music past the typical sounds that might be expected from a band whose genre ends in the phrase “core.” Considering that the rather disjointed and sometimes incoherent nature of the non-metal elements was one of the biggest problems with the last release, this tightening of sound effects is a welcome progression in sound for the band.

Without a doubt, “In Home Hell” is one to check out for fans of Devildriver or Hatebreed, although At Home In Hell tends to move at a more deliberate, chugging pace than those bands. Years back while reviewing earlier material from the band, I lamented the lack of polish and hoped for a more cohesive and tight sound when a full-length came around; that album has finally arrived as “In Home Hell” shows off more of what this underground whirlwind of destruction is really capable of delivering.

Highs: Brutal riffs, mosh-friendly breakdowns, and a welcome progression in sound from previous efforts by the band.

Lows: There is some bleed through between songs, and the "clean" vocals won't work for everyone.

Bottom line: Fans of DevilDriver or Hatebreed should check out this underground gem with a unique flavor and eerie synth work.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)