Review Summary: Bleeding Through have definitely redeemed themselves after the abomination that was their s/t album in 2010.
Upon hearing that Orange County metalcore band Bleeding Through had another new album coming out, I definitely had mixed emotions. I've been following this band for a while and the trend I've noticed is that they just aren't consistent. Bands are always going to change with each release but they need to know how to play their strengths and evolve based on them. They hit the nail on the head when they released “Declaration” in 2008 and I had high hopes for the them. The blend of hardcore and metal with symphonic black metal-esque elements was original (at the time) and well executed. Their next album, a self titled effort, lacked basically everything they did well on “Declaration” and steered me away from them for a while. Now their newest release 'The Great Fire” has dropped and I have to say I was pleased with the result.
This album is far from perfect but it definitely has them going back in the right direction. One thing that gets my attention immediately is that the songs are much shorter here than on any previous release, averaging at about two-two and a half minutes each and only one that breaks the four minute mark. This works to their advantage giving each song it's own identity and preventing too much song-to-song blending you see in so many metalcore albums. Instrumentally, the drums shine above everything else here. Combining instense blast beats with breakdowns and incredible speed they produce the energy that helps carry this album through. The guitars unfortunately get lost in the mix with their muddy sound overshadowed by the drums and vocals, and drowned out by the sometimes obnoxious keyboards. Speaking of which, they definitely got very experimental with the keys. Songs such and “Faith In Fire”, “Goodbye To Death”, and “Final Hours” have very odd keyboard melodies mixed in that are kind of a turn off. One of the things Bleeding Through did right with declaration was create an ambiance with the keys giving the song a creepy or eerie sort of tone. Here they seem to have a very artifical sound at times which draws attention away from everything else rather than blending it. However, songs such as “Starving Vultures” and “Step Back In Line” do make proper use of the keys which redeems the other faults to an extent.
With all that said, the highlight of this album, as always, is their vocalist Brandon Schiapatti. Bleeding Through is a decade old band and Brandon still manages to get better with every album they put out. He has a distinct sound like no other band I've heard before and is the main reason I've followed them as long as I have. At first listen you get the point pretty quickly; this guy is pissed. The anger he conveys with his voice is trembling and genuine. He, like the rest of the band, however is not without faults. His “tough guy” lyrics are some times too awful for words. Lines such as “What if I wasn't what the *** would you do" Walk away son, nothing left to prove” are certainly not lyrical genius by anyone’s standards, but I suppose if anyone can pull it off it's Brandon. Also, the clean vocals scattered throughout are below par. They've always been done well on previous albums but I think the production may have played a factor in that. Not to say that he can't sing, but the mix on the cleans here makes them feel really out of place. The good thing is that they are few and far between.
Overall, “The Great Fire” breathes life back into Bleeding Through after their last album filled me with doubt about where this band was headed. They've played their strengths and created a compilation of fast, intense music that will certainly grab your attention. I recommend this for anyone who enjoyed “Declaration” but still keep an open mind because I certainly wouldn't call it a 2.0.
“Step Back In Line”
“One By One”