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Despite winning Best Newcomer at both the 2010 Kerrang! and Metal Hammer awards, there's still an unhealthy amount of scepticism surrounding London-based five-piece metalcore outfit Rise to Remain, largely thanks to the accusations of nepotism being flung left, right, and center over frontman Austin Dickinson's famous father. The son of Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce may have received a bit of a leg-up (the band recently supported the metal legends on their European tour), but there's enough potential on their debut album, City of Vultures, to suggest they might have been awarded the same accolades without their family connections. Indeed, Austin is a different beast altogether, rather impressively performing the job of two men by shifting back and forth between clean melodic vocals and slightly demonic grunts during the same song, while the relentlessly aggressive production from Carl Bown and Colin Richardson, at times, lives up to the standard of the latter's work with Slipknot and Trivium, particularly the thrash metal of "This Day Is Mine" and the frantic angst-ridden "God Can Bleed." Overloaded with thunderous rhythms, pulverizing riffs, and some sterling solo work from lead guitarist Ben Tovey, its 12 tracks appear to make a mockery of those who question their authenticity, but other than the haunting neo-classical opener "Intro" and the Lostprophets-esque emo-rock ballad "Roads," the band appears unwilling to deviate from its intense guitar-shredding formula, meaning the album begins to run out of steam well before the rather brutal finale, "Bridges Will Burn," draws to a close. Rise to Remain, therefore, aren't likely to provide the shot in the arm to the British metal scene that their well-known associates did 30 years previously, but City of Vultures is a solid first offering suggesting that Dickinson Jr. is capable of stepping out of his father's shadows in the future. ~ Jon O'Brien
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