The Enemy Within is a four-track EP from Assuming We Survive, an LA five-piece drawing comparisons to early Fall Out Boy. I would agree, but Assuming We Survive are much heavier, and they know how to craft great songs, both poppy and heavy. Before we begin, a special mention for the creepy, eye-catching cover art—I love creepy, so bonus points for Assuming We Survive. Let us begin.
This EP is a tale of two halves, the first half being much punkier/heavy in nature, but still quite melodic, and the second half offering more of a pop sound overall. Given the music videos for the first two tracks on the EP are connected, I understand why The Enemy Within is structured like this. However, personally, I disagree with the running order.
Lyrically, the whole EP is quite dark in nature. Themes of loss, love, and self-destruction are discernible throughout. The songwriting is stellar, remaining engaging across the fifteen-minute running time.
I only have a couple of minor criticisms. The bass is too low and, given how good the drums and guitar are throughout, louder bass would add something more to the EP. Though the guitars have an excellent tone, they’re just a little too loud in the mix, distracting from the vocals.
Now to the positives—and there are plenty. The drum mix is so good, those fills had me air drumming in my head. (I was writing notes while listening, so it was hard to actually air drum). The drums hit hard and never feel repetitive. The guitar playing is fantastic, switching between a poppy, Fall Out Boy sound to a heavier punk/metal sound with ease. The riffs are fun, and the delicate melodies are quite beautiful.
My favourite part of the EP has to be the vocals. The singer has a powerful voice, adapting to each style effortlessly. While the band are incredibly talented, the singer brings it to the next level. At first, I thought it might just be the usual, often repetitive, pop-punk vocal style. Thankfully, I was wrong and have no problem admitting it. He has some great moments, especially on ‘Prisoner’ and ‘Lost’.
The videos accompanying the first two songs are excellent and tell a dark, sobering story. Apart from being a talented band, Assuming We Survive have a great eye for visuals.
This EP is a great showcase for Assuming We Survive, who are currently touring. If you’re looking for songs with substance, catchy hooks, and gripping vocals, look no further than The Enemy Within. Given the energy on the record, the live shows must be a real blast. Look out for these guys in the future.