Sound — 9
Call me biased. I don't care. I've loved Bleeding Through since Molly was their keyboardist on Portrait of the Goddess. Through the years, this Orange County metalcore band, which has a blackened and foreboding ambience thanks to their ethereal keyboards, has evolved and grown, but they take a few welcome steps back on Bleeding Through. This album is nastier, gnarlier and angrier than anything the band has done since 2003's This is Love, This is Murderous, which is arguably their best record. Indeed, black metal snobs might be appalled, disgusted even, at the notion that is blackened metalcore, but that's exactly what it is. It's metalcore, thanks to the breakdowns. But it's also got a dark, Euro metal atmosphere that sets the band apart from so many of its peers. There are artillery riffs, impacts-like-an-atom-bomb drum mania and lots of those pretty keyboards, delivered courtesy of Marta Peterson, who is often categorized as one of the hottest chicks in metal. She's also talented, lest any of your testosterone-driven dudes out there forget she can actually play her instrument. The melody she provides the contrast to the ultra aggression of the riffs and the vocals. I believe they call that balance.
Lyrics — 9
There's not too much in the way of clean singing, which Brandan Schieppati has attempted (to mixed fan results) on past Bleeding Through albums, like The Truth, here, except on "Salvation Never Found," which totally f--king rules and the clean parts are sung by bassist Ryan Wombacher. Overall, though, Schieppati is barking with the voracity of a kennel of angry, unfed dogs on "Anti-Hero," which is easily the album's best track, thanks to its chant and its all out war intensity. Seriously, I was sort of worried Schieppati would have some sort of aneurism since he ups the ante on Bleeding Through, and that's like saying he poured gasoline or kerosene on an already raging grease fire! "Your Abandonment" and "Fifteen Minutes" are also tense clusters of musical mayhem. It leaves you wondering why kids from such a beautiful, sunny region such as Orange County, California would be so f--king pissed off. But the album's an excellent exercise in doing something productive with pent up rage and then being refreshed from the release. Cathartic doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of this record's vibe. Schieppati is prone to dropping the "eff" bomb with incredible frequency, but it's a lyrical convention that certainly fits the music, which invites kids with axes to grind whether said axes be against their friends, parents or teachers is a case-by-case basisto sing along and vent their frustration to! The only other band that I can think of that has this kind of vocal cleansing and redemptive nature is Hatebreed, which I am sure many readers will go forth and argue about, which I encourage!
Overall Impression — 8
Again, the band hasn't sound this bloodthirsty since its earliest days. The band turns back to the clock, but that doesn't mean this is some sort of negative step back. In fact, it's a step forward to return to the roots that have served the band so well, as contradictory as that may sound. Trust me, this album is Bleeding Through, circa 2002, but on steroids, metaphorically speaking. Bleeding Through is a total fist to the Adam's apple and is spray painted with just the right coating of blackness.