Rock of Angels Records
Release: September 28, 2018
Enemy Inside is a dark rock band with modern metal influences from Aschaffenburg, Germany, formed in 2017 by Nastassja Giulia (vocals) and Evan K (guitar). They came up with this mix of styles by experimenting with a wide range of sounds and genres until they created a sound that is uniquely theirs – not really rock, not really metal either, but something in between. The music strikes a catchy, mystical chord as the powerful female lead vocals are intertwined with aggressive arrangements and catchy hooks. And all this, and more, is on full display on their debut album “Phoenix” (out September 28, via Rock of Angels Records).
Indeed, the eleven songs are full of hard rock guitar riffs, melodic guitar solos, and great, melodic vocals. Lyrically, there is a unifying theme present throughout the album, and as the band states: "We all carry our greatest enemy inside us. One that we can't see coming, from whom we can't hide, who can bring our weaknesses to the light”. As such, the songs mirror our inner struggles, the constant war between friend and foe, light and dark, good and evil; and it’s our personal challenge to confront and overcome these demons.'' And, according to the band’s bio, the ‘Phoenix unifies these contrary feelings and represents the cycle of rebirth, new beginnings and innovation’. Hence the album title.
Doorway to salvation (ft. Georg Neuhauser)
Death of me
Summer son (Texas cover)
Doorway to salvation (bonus track)
Delving into the songs, “Falling Away”, the album opener and first single released, wastes no time in getting things moving along with a crash of guitars, bass, and drums, before Nastassja Giulia’s lovely vocals take over. An aggressive yet melodic song, with a catchy chorus, a powerful instrumental background, and a great guitar solo, which really sets the mood and grabs the listeners’ attention. Lyric-wise, this is a song about “anxiety and depression a topic society has a hard time talking about in real life, even though it has never been more important than it is nowadays”, to quote Nastassja directly. The next tracks, the dramatic “Bleeding out” and the uplifting title track “Phoenix”, expand on the inner turmoil and struggles we each face, and respectively prevailing over difficulties and rising from the ashes like the mythical bird, while the guitars and drums provide a more mellow, mid-tempo melody in both songs. With the next track, and third single released, “Lullaby”, the band shines a bright light on suicide – “Lullaby is for everyone who has experienced suicidal thoughts. Having such thoughts doesn’t make you weak or broken. It only signifies that you have more pain than you can cope with right now”. The guitars are back in full swing for this one, with some synths in the background, that further the dark atmosphere of the song, though there is a certain feel of hopefulness and light in the chorus.
The piano driven ballad “Doorway to Salvation” is actually a beautiful and uplifting duet with Georg Neuhauser (Serenity) where both Nastassja’s and Georg’s vocals complement and complete each other neatly. After this sweet and emotional number, the mid-tempo “Angel’s suicide” and “Death of me” continue the album’s theme and mood, as both songs have an undertone of melancholy and darkness to them, again with some powerful lyrical content and beautiful backing instrumental. The rockish “Oblivion”, the second single released, is another song with a topic worth discussing, namely “mortality and the longing for peace and rest. It’s about being in the last stages of life and having someone by your side when the end approaches”, to again quote the charismatic frontwoman. Musically it’s a balanced mix of melodic vocals, powerful guitar melodies, and pounding drums, with some piano lines here and there for an extra dose of emotion. “Halo” seems to be a more metal-infused song with a bit edgier guitars and a very catchy chorus to it, beautiful sung by Nastassja. “Dark Skies” is a very sorrowful and gloomy ballad, with a very emotional vocal delivery to it, probably the most emotional song on the whole album, as it deals with death and loss. The album closes with a cover of Texas’ “Summer Son”, which, beautiful as it may be, I feel like it disrupts the flow and mood of the album, and the bonus track “Doorway to Salvation”, with only Nastassja on vocals. Personally I prefer the duet with Georg, but it’s nice to have both versions on the album, to see just how different the same song can be.
At times more rockish, at times a bit more metal, and at other times somewhat poppy, “Phoenix” is indeed a powerful and rather dark album, with an even more powerful message to it. And it’s quite good for a debut album, though not as varies as I had liked. Still the songs are pretty solid and work well together to drive the central theme home. Looking forward to more from this talented band.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Nastassja Giulia – Vocals
Evan K – Lead Guitar
Dave Hadarik – Rhythm Guitar
Dominik Stotzem – Bass
Feli Keith – Drums