Review Summary: Bleeding Through finally mature and create an album that is in the spirit of the old, but with so many exciting new things, it will make you wonder where it's going to go next.
Metalcore has always been the brunt of a lot of jokes and hatred, granted there are bands that still continue to give the dying genre a good name. But there are still a lot of bands that continue to ruin it by making the same album over and over again and sounding no different than anyone else. Bleeding Through's first full length entitled Portrait of the Goddess
was (musically) a really intense and good album for them to put out. Even if the production was a bit lackluster on it. Then came This is Love, This is Murderous
, this is where I feel things started to turn on them a bit. The album had a few select good songs but other than that it felt like an album full of filler. The songs did nothing to standout from each other. The fast forward three years to them releasing The Truth
a melody driven album with *gasp* a ballad. Now the album itself wasn't that bad but it felt like they watered every song down a bit, thinking about how they could have made it more commercial. But I can honestly say now, with the release of Declaration
they have put all that behind them and come out of the corner swinging to knock your teeth out of your skull.
The first thing you will realize about this album is the pace, the pace of Declaration
is frenzied and at times simply chaotic drumming of Derek Youngsma, my this man has become all but a machine, playing some of the most chaotic drumming you'll ever hear in metalcore. Backed by the intense guitars on this album, played by Brian Leppke and the newcomer Jona Weinhofen (formerly of IKTPQ fame), make it a sonic assault on your senses the whole way through. Although, each of the people in the band has gotten much, much better at whatever their repsective instrument is and it definitely shows throughout the album on tracks such as "There Was A Flood" and "Beneath The Grey".
The vocals on this album have taken quite a step up from their previous efforts in a few places. The first thing to mention is that he has completely gotten rid of the samey lyrics (save one song), we have heard on every one of their releases up to this one. His lyrics are much more universal and have almost no resemblance to the other albums, but the problem still lies that his lyrics are nothing special. They don't really stand out in any way, the same old stuff about sacrificing, and standing up for yourself. His vocal approach has been reworked to accommodate the new music, his highs are much more shrill and full than they used to be, coming off with a little of a black metal feel. He has also developed his lower end now so he can actually contribute more than he was able to on previous albums to the lower end, complimenting his new shrill highs very well in areas. To sum it up, his lyrics have changed, but to something more generic than they used to be, but his range has vastly improved upon his previous work. The music on the album is what you would expect from a band like this, they have songs that will remind you of their previous work but they have also incorporated more death and black metal influences into the mix this time. They've always had a gothic sound to them but the keyboards were never really fleshed out enough to show this.
The keys are extremely prominent in the mix of the album but they fit the music perfectly. There are songs like "Declaration" where the keyboard shines through and gives the song and the album a much needed atmosphere. Atmosphere isn't something that Bleeding Through was big on or did very well in the past, but they have really created a creepy and brooding atmosphere with a few of the tracks on the album. Marta has always been prominent in their live shows but for some reason she seemed to always take a back seat in the recording of the albums, but this is no more as she is almost just as loud as everything else on the album.
There is one song that I will devote an entire paragraph to, which is entitled "Sister Charlatan". If there is quite possibly a perfect way to construct and execute a metalcore song, this is it. Now i understand this may be bold, but really, listen to the song and make your judgement from there. The song itself is actually the one song on the album that has the same lyric approach as the previous albums, which I thought, (given thier newfound lyric writing abilities), was going to kill the song. In every sense, this song is the climax that all the other albums/songs built up to, it finally comes out with everything.
"I no longer admire you
the way you burned them all alive
the fire in your eyes
But always remember, how fast the
beautiful will fall
walls come crashing down"
The song itself is beautifully crafted showing off everything that they do well, and all the newfound abilites and crafts of each of the band members. It is quite a song to behold I must say.
At the end of the day I feel that Bleeding Through is still trying to give the dying genre of metalcore a good name. They're trying to show people that you can be heavy and not sound like everyone else in the genre. With the introduction of more atmosphere, giving the album a more robust sound, I feel that Bleeding Through have taken what they have done in the past and built upon that to not only create an album that got back to the roots of what they are, but also give the dying genre a good push in the right direction.