Review by Richard Henry for MPM
Inner struggle incites outward expression. Any Given Sin transfigures conflict into caustic and catchy hard rock punctuated by metallic intensity and alternative intimacy.
The Maryland quartet—Victor Ritchie [vocals], Mike Conner [guitar], Rich Stevenson [bass], and Mike Showalter [drums]—encase these unrestrained emotions inside arena-size anthems with bold hooks and bludgeoning riffs. Amassing nearly 20 million streams, buzzing at radio, and building a devout fan base, the group perfect this pummeling and powerful style on their 2023 full-length debut LP, War Within, to be released on June 16.
So that’s the word from the band and the label, let’s get stuck into the album, have never heard of these guys before so this is a fresh listen, let’s see what we are dealing with!
1. War Within – Kicking in with a stabbing guitar note immediately we launch into a near nu metal feel, very much like Disturbed with that groove and riff, yeah and with the vocal delivery mostly clean with some more aggressive parts, that’s exactly who it sounds like, good strong vocal and to be fair it’s a strong chorus, verse two drops in with a textural part for two bars before the band comes back in again, we drop into a half time section in the middle eight of the song, good section for the crowd, then we drop down and build right into the chorus again
2. Calm Before the Storm – Same idea as the last song, a sort of cleanish intro before we launch into a lumbering riff a sort of slow shuffle feel to it, before we hit verse one and the guitars drop out and we have a dirty bass tone with just the vocals, with the guitar sort of adding in the end of every line, break with vocal and a synth sounding part before we hit the chorus and it’s another massive chorus again, nice shift of tempo on that riff after the chorus, again we break down to a clean middle eight bringing the dynamics again before building into another riff part, then back into the chorus and out.
3. Another Life – Yeah same again, you get the synth backing intro with the vocal over it, back into a riff with like an octave melody played over it, verse breaks down with a tribal drum part with a picked riff over the top, before it starts to build up as it works its way into the chorus, again we have a synth clean guitar breakdown before hitting the chorus, which yet again, really solid and singable, good harmony vocals on the second verse before it breaks again for chorus two, middle section again uses a breakdown synth with a drum pattern building it back up and into the chorus.
4. Cold Bones – A sort of radio old style piano starting this one off, with just a vocal then coming in, good strong vocal with like a harp arpeggiation adding to the piano part, then when it builds it’s like a synth drum part more than the real drums, then the band does come in before hitting verse two with the band coming in with the previous instrumentation, good strong chorus again, I like the guitar figure going around in the background of the chorus, before we cut in the middle back to this harp part, before we slid back in with the more atmospheric drums before the band comes back in like they did previously.
5. Follow You – Starting with a filtered guitar riff just before it kicks in, that riff reminds me of an Alter Bridge/Tremonti style part the way it hit there, again though we drop down into the verse for the first two bars before it comes back again, the chorus is good, and nice range in the vocals, nice synth part coming along with the riff, verse two is more like it with the intensity staying with the riff instead of dropping out, that middle section is nice, heavy with a half time on the drums with that riff, probably the heaviest part on the album so far, then we break again before the last chorus, it is a bit predictable, a lot of the songs so far have had exactly the same format, and this song is really good, that’s the thing!
6. Insidious – Again with the intro with girls talking, then we have the riff kicking in this time with the synthy part running through the riff, before we hit the quiet two bars of the verse with side stick on the drums before the riff then starts to kick in and a slow build up as we go into the chorus, very Five Finger as well, build up into the second verse that has a bit more heavy guitar with a staccato riff playing as well, then into the pre chorus part before we hit that big chorus again, first solo and to be honest it’s a nice break as I was expecting another middle 8 breakdown part, then we do hit a breakdown before we hit the final chorus with just the synth part and the vocal before we hit a chorus again!
7. Ball And Chain – Another phased in intro with a keys part and drums building up into the main riff, really nice synth melody being played behind the main riff, but yet again we break down into a verse, first four bars with clean guitar and then we kick in with a heavier guitar, the chorus is great, with a really good vocal delivery, breakdown into the second verse then same idea as the first verse into that huge chorus again, there is a massive breakdown part with the riff that literally gets four bars before a breakdown, such a waste of that part it should have been there longer as the breakdown kills the intensity too soon, quiet breakdown into the chorus again but that middle part should have been longer!
8. The Way I Say Goodbye – Sort of a swing to the start of this one, definitely more of a ballad type of track, nice harmony vocal on the verse, really strong chorus and it will stick in your head, these guys do write good choruses for sure, then into verse two which keeps the clean guitar but then peppers in some syncopated heavier parts with the drums, I loke that breakdown in the middle, keeps the intensity and adds it to the vocals as well, even the way we get back into the chorus, this one is really well put together!
9. House On Fire – Nice riff to kick this off, bit heavier this one, much lower vocal, then we split into a different beat and feel before it hits the chorus which sort of half times but really works well, nice vocal and again really nice harmonies, now that straight after the chorus is a proper dirty riff, then in the next verse, this is what I have wanted a few times, keep that intensity up in the songs and not as many breaks or breakdowns, now when the breakdown in this happens you have had two verse and choruses of heavy, then it picks up with the riff and ride cymbal before boom, right into that huge chorus, song of the album for me!
10. Dynamite – Nice clean guitar sound with an almost music box accompanying it, really nice rich vocal with lots of depth to it and yet again lovely harmonies, then that little bit of aggression to the vocal as we hit into that chorus, even dropping down into the verse, this fits, and there are no distracting parts, this is a proper radio song like Shinedown would have, 100% this should be a lead track, great vocal on it as well, nice range shown in that middle section, this is an absolute banger of a track!
11. Still Sinking – Okay that’s a cool part, almost like a Rammstein key/synth part under that main riff, really nice bass tone yet again on that verse, and I like the way it driving the verse which doesn’t have guitar but still feels heavy, really strong chorus which to be fair every song has had so far, the way the guitars have now joined in the bass part syncopation the vocal delivery on the second verse, I like the guitar melody before hitting a solo which breaks the track up, then into a clean part that builds back into that huge chorus but now with the synth part at the start playing as well, great track!
7 out of 10
The songs are really good, I think my only thing with this album is the first 5-6 tracks you can tell what’s coming next as its very to a formula, the back end of the album is slamming, and Dynamite would be the song I would be pushing, the songs are huge and hooky I just felt if they had of used less of the breakdowns and added a bit more chunk it would have benefitted some of the tracks, that’s just my opinion, overall though it’s a good album, definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of Five Finger, Shinedown, Alter Bridge etc!
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