Well, Bleeding Through are back I guess. Properly this time, too!
‘Love Will Kill All’, Bleeding Through’s first studio effort since 2012’s ‘The Great Fire’, meanders in with an organ-led opening. There’s a bit of a twisted Tim Burton feel to it, and I’m as yet undecided if I like that or not. Perhaps a tad goth-y for me.
First track proper, ‘Fade Into The Ash’, takes a deep breath before catapulting into rapid fire, consistent drum lines you could set your watch to. Well, if you wanted your days to last about ten minutes each. Truth be told, I’m getting a bit of a ‘City of Evil’ era Avenged Sevenfold vibe thus far. A big divergence, then, and a hard step towards a more definitively symphonic direction from the Bleeding Through I embraced in my teens.
‘End Us’ brings us back into more familiar sounding territory, with the bands’ Metalcore roots peeking through the cracks a bit more. It’s fairly ‘Love Lost In A Hale Of Gunfire’ era sounding Bleeding Through, and one the old heads will definitely seize on.
‘Cold World’ is my favourite track from the early part of the album, juggling the slow and heavy and fast… and heavy… before breaking out into a massive sounding melodic section of the ilk we’ve recently come to expect from bands like Loathe.
‘Dead Eyes’ follows on by breaking in with more of that same chugged note that’s propped up Bleeding Through’s entire career. The creepy organ sounding synth in this one really reaffirms the horror vibe. If I were asked to help brand a spooky theme park ride, this would be right up there on that playlist that rotates every couple of minutes for four fucking hours while you’re queueing, then when you finally get on the bastard thing breaks down and wasps decide to fly at you while you’re locked in the restraints. I hate wasps.
We battle on in the same kind of vein with ‘Buried’, that slightly more gothic take on the familiar Bleeding Through sound, before ‘No Friends’ kicks in with a heavily processed voice saying “BT 2018”. Does this look like a fucking grime record? I half expect DJ Khaled to pop up and spunk his name into my ears too, but that would be silly. This has a much wider stereo field than anything he’s been near. The track itself is unremarkable, a minute and a half or so of pretty basic chugging, then break out into melodic section. Repeat until symptoms desist.
Back to the production aspect if I may, though. The first few listens I did have a bit of a love/hate thing going on while getting a grasp on the production. There does feel like there’s plenty of width to the sound field, but not a huge deal of depth on much of the album.
Moving swiftly on, we hit a much more Hardcore/Metalcore influenced nugget in ‘Set Me Free’. There’s still some atmospheric synths working away in the background, but the head atop this proverbial spear is sharp as fuck. This vibe powers into follow-on track ‘No One From Nowhere’, a frantic effort with Southern Metal-sounding guitar licks and the odd interference from string-sounding synth. The ending to this one is rather heavy.
‘Remains’ comes next. I don’t hate the concept, but to be frank I’m getting a little tired of the same pitched chug over and over and over as the backbone to every track. The clean vocals are a little tepid too, oddly mixed and just generally weak. This is where a killer guest vocal would have nailed the second half of the album in – someone like Howard Jones belting out those clean sections with a bit of gusto would have made for a brilliant comeback single.
‘Slave’ is more chugging dropped over symphonic synths, before ‘Life’ wraps up the record in a slightly more interesting manner, with a more delicate balance of the heavy and melodic than we’ve had across the course of the album. It’s a strong finish to a comeback I wasn’t overwhelmingly convinced by – the same ingredients are still there, albeit in different proportions, yet it just doesn’t feel as visceral as Bleeding Through of old.
I mean, when I first experienced the opening riff from ‘Germany’ (from 2008 album Declaration) I was pleasantly surprised I still had any bones left.
‘Love Will Kill All’ is out now through Nuclear Blast.