Review Summary: Deathcore done right.
As with all genres, Deathcore has now reached a point in its progression where the wheat is beginning to be separated from the chaff, making it clear to see where the actual talent lies. Leaders of the pack All Shall Perish deviated slightly from the formula, incorporating greater use of melody on latest effort Awaken The Dreamers, Job For A Cowboy went the opposite root, opting for a straight up death metal approach, and the once archetypal deathcore outfit Bring Me The Horizon started to utilize a more hardcore slant on Suicide Season.
Now, although it does not seem necessary for a band to alter their sound as drastically as the aforementioned bands, a group such as Scotland’s Bleed From Within are the epitome of a band that demonstrated enormous potential on their debut, yet it is also apparent that a deal of evolution was needed to make them distinctive and prominent in the sea of mediocrity. And with Empire, I think the band has achieved this.
2009’s Humanity was an enjoyable listen, an half hour spin of weighty guitar riffs, and an particularly competent vocal performance from Scott Kennedy. Yet, the album lacked the killer punch, the exceptional spark of individuality that would quell the danger of the band becoming just another The Black Dahlia Murder clone. Empire takes the elements that BFW have established as core to their sound, and builds on them subtly, improving their craft with shrewd little touches which combine to have a substantial impact.
The most effective of these is the inclusion of some fantastically melodic guitar lines, creating a pleasant counterpart to the juddering rhythms which are all too often present. The tapping intro to The Healing, for example, displays how a greater sense of melody in the guitar work is welcome in giving the songs a distinguishing and memorable edge, stopping the constant ferocity from becoming to overbearing. Indeed, there are many brief glimpses that betray a wide range of influence, and no more so than on Vanity, where we are treated to a vicious thrash riff to open before being hit by an icy black metal-esque section, complete with tremelo picked guitar lines and a barrage of blast beats. Its these small touches, little homage’s and nods to a wider understanding and capability of how to keep their sound fresh, which just add to the flavour of the music, making the album a far more engrossing listen.
As I mentioned before, Scott Kennedy is an extremely able vocalist, and on Empire he delivers another confident performance. Employing more often a mid range roar than the constant shifting between highs and lows on previous releases, his vocals remain powerful and unwaveringly effectual. The same can be said for the drum work. Ali Richardson blasts and grooves his way through the album with air tight precision, including some neat fills and simply executing his work with capability and proficiently.
And so, Bleed From Within have crafted an album that, although still very much continuing the sound established on Humanity (there still remains a healthy littering of breakdowns, chugging rhythms and typical Deathcore blasting), manages to retain interest, utilizing a new sense of melodic value in a attempt to sound fresh in a genre becoming increasingly stagnant. It is my opinion that it has paid off, and Empire acts as a statement of intent from a very promising outfit, cementing their status as ones to keep an eye on.