ALBUM OF THE WEEK: As Hell Retreats - Volition

Even though Nashville's As Hell Retreats's debut full-length "Revival" definitely held up strongly, it would appear that the band's sophomore release, "Volition," truly steals the spotlight. As a deathcore record, it holds an excellent balance between heaviness, complexity, and lightness. Some tracks are on the more brutal side (Matriarch) or the melodic side (Only Hope), while others tread between both sides seamlessly. Along with that, the instrumentation is also stellar, complete with well-ranged vocals, versatile guitar work, and highly solid percussion. The production and mixing, done by ex-MyChildren MyBride drummer Brian Hood (The Crimson Armada, Gideon), is also great and makes the music sound very explosive and all the more potent. Top it all off with some intriguing and powerful story-driven lyrics about a man's faith and loss, and you have one of the best albums in the deathcore business.