Review Summary: "The Great Fire" gives fans the best of what they love about Bleeding Through, whilst adding new aspects which make for a fresh, unique and overall very worthwhile experience.
Bleeding Through, the six-piece Synthesised Black Metal act hailing from Orange County, California. They have had a rather consistent career among said genre and "The Great Fire" is as good, if not better, than some of it's predecessors' efforts.
Although "Synthesised Black Metal" is suggested genre for the band, it is impossible to narrow "The Great Fire" down to just one form of metal. With influences from metalcore and hardcore, the album's different techniques and sounds blend in exceptionally well, but still keep the theme strong. Whether it be Brandan's ruthless screams, the relentless pounding of the lightning fast drums, the crushing guitar riffs or the chilling melody of Marta's keyboard, every aspect just feels like it was meant to be together. This is a very strong, positive point for the album.
This release opens with "The March", blasting you into a mind crunching breakdown which sets the mood for what most of the album is: raw, aggressive music with melodic roots. Songs such as "Faith In Fire", "Step Back In Line" and "Starving Vultures" follow this mood particularly well, with more of the breakdowns and "in-your-face" aggression that we've come to love from Bleeding Through. But what makes this album unique is the way that the keyboards and clean vocals have been incorporated into this aggression which makes for a well structured and addictive experience. "Walking Dead" is one of the many tracks which showcases just how well the band can incorporate keyboard melodies into aggressive music, with every chorus being as much haunting as intrusive. On the other hand, tracks like "Final Hours" and "Trail of Seclusion" give us the opportunity to take a look into Brandan's lighter side, with clean, singing vocals which harmonise well with the powerful guitar and keyboard work.
Something should be said about the drumming and bass work on this effort too. A very noticeable aspect in many songs is the rampant, lightning-fast drumming which accompanies the shredding of guitars. However, the speed of the drums can be quite questionable and in many of these sections, Derek's position feels like it has been replaced with digital software because the 64th double bass notes sound incomprehensibly quick to be executed by human feet. Although the drumming is impressive, these fast sections may make some fans question the musical authenticity of the band if they have to rely on editing to make their work sound good. But, editing aside, the bass work on "The Great Fire" is very good. You can hear the warlike the tremors of the bass in every breakdown and it is used very well as the foundation for the band's music. It is impressive to know that this album was self-produced, with little to no guidance from a qualified record producer.
In conclusion, Bleeding Through's "The Great Fire" force feeds us the best of what we love but also shows fans what else the band can do in different aspects of their musicality. I'd recommend it to any fan of Metalcore, Black Metal or Hardcore.
Songs To Listen To:
"Trail of Seclusion"