Sound — 9
Over the last eleven years, and six studio albums, Bleeding Through have progressed steadily upward in their music career. From Dust To Ashes in 2001, right up to the recent self-titled on April 13th 2010, their overall sound has changed across their releases but they stuck true to their original metalcore vibe each time. This latest release came with less hype than previous efforts, however that's not to say its a disappointment. At all. I, as a consumer, always stream a record before buying and I came across this without actually realising it had been released yet. Beginning with the track 'A Ressurection', which is the bands second attempt at an instrumental opening track, after 'Finnis Fatalis Spei' off 'Declaration', and I have to say I much prefer this track overall as it includes drumming behind the orchestration, and no 300 soundbite at the end. Track 2, 'Anti-Hero' begins in predictable, explosive metalcore style and continues through to the end, and makes way for 'Your Abandonment'. This seems to me, although a very touchy subject among metallers, one of the heavier tracks on the album and will take some getting used to if you are new to the band or genre. The next track, 'Fifteen Minutes' is another fast-paced song, that follows in the signature sound of the band, and ends with a crushing breakdown akin to their earlier records. 'Salvation Never Found' is the first track to heavily feature clean vocals, which are executed beautifully among the more melodic sound of this track. However its back to heavy with 'Breathing In Wrath' which is exactly as the name suggests; heavy and angry, almost bodering on the melo-death sound of bands such as Arch Enemy and In Flames with some synth layered over. The skills of Marta Peterson on the keyboards and synth really stand out in the mix of 'This Time Nothing Is Sacred', although you have to listen for it as it is unfortunately low in the mix, as it usually is, which I think is a great disappointment. Either way though, there is no denying the overall brilliance of 'Divide The Armies', one of my two personal favourites on the CD. More heavy synth usage here, along with simple, in your face riffs that compliment the screams perfectly. This song features two solos within the structure, and is definately a must listen. The thundering drum introduction to 'Drag Me to the Ocean' promises great things, however the song as a whole, I feel, is lacking in terms of what the other tracks have to offer. It's not bad by any means, but the weakest on the album in my opinion. 'Light My Eyes', being my other favourite thus far, opens with a much mellower atmosphere in comparison with other tracks, a quiet repeated guitar line under echoed vocals, swiftly cut off by the introduction to a song much more recognisable as Bleeding Through. Another must listen. The last two tracks, 'Slow Your Roll' and 'Distortion, Devotion' respectively, bow out the album in great form, not feeling as if they were just stuck on the end to fill a gap as I have felt with numerous albums by bands in similar genres. 'Slow Your Roll' really captures an air of aggression, and again borders the melo death sound, with several catchy synth hooks in parts. The finale of the CD, 'Distortion, Devotion' definately has that "last song on an album" feel to it, complete with a mellow opening, string section, haunting clean vocal melodies and a closure of a simple sustained chord descending to feedback, which I think could have been drawn out slightly longer to capture the feeling of an end, as it really does leave you expecting one more song to come in. Overall, the band's sound has progressed well over their career and not succumbed to label pressures or high street influences, moving exactly where they want to with each album. This self titled, I feel, captures a true sound of the band, and works brilliantly well. Sure not to disappoint fans or newcomers alike.
Lyrics — 9
Now, I have only owned this CD for a little under a day, and haven't had a great deal of time to read over the lyrics while listening to the songs. As with much music that features heavy usage of screaming vocals, it can be difficult to understand the vocalist off-hand unless they have amazingly good enunciation. However, within this genre, the delivery of the vocals is just as important, if not slightly more, in the overall effect of the piece. Brandon Schieppati is, to my mind, a well experienced and greatly proficient vocalist in both screams and clean singing, along with lyricist. The lyrics don't differ greatly in general themes, from album to album, they mostly seem to be dark romantic (or anti-romantic?), fuelled by a anger that rings clear throughout his songs. I wouldn't say there are any parts of stand-out genius in his writings, but whatever Brandon does; he makes it work. In the song 'Fifteen Minutes', the breakdown is signaled with a scream of "I'll fucking ruin your life", which really sets a mood for the rest of the album. Across the board, there is a very nihilstic, almost apocalyptic, message to who or whatever the song is about. The song 'Light My Eyes' features a short amount of lyrics; only about 5 lines worth, however they are executed brilliantly, and differently each time they are sung through. Nothing to break any trends here, although I am very impressed with Brandon's vocal abilities and wouldn't wish him to change just for the sake of finding something new to write about.
Overall Impression — 10
If you were to paint Bleeding Through into a very general corner, you would refer to them as metalcore. However, I am one of those people who really does hate the state we've got ourselves into with the amount of subgenres in every genre of music. It seems like pointless labelling for the sake of causing arguments. The band definately draws influence from the 'core' sound, hardcore metal and punk infusions; clean vocals mixed with screams and growls. However, they have always struck me as being influenced by some death metal sounds (don't get onto my back about this, I said influenced - I didn't say they played it) and the more symphonic sound of the melo death realms. But, I digress. As compared to other bands within this 'metalcore' genre they definately stand out to me as a band who does not conform to standards and plays what the hell they want to play. I own each of their albums to date, and would definately replace this one if it were stolen or broken, which is likely as I am terrible with keeping CDs in good nick; I almost cried when I broke my copy of The Blackening luckily I got the special edition for a present, and numerous other ones have suffered similar fates. Overall, I tend to buy most of my music off iTunes, or directly from the artists websites to save this trouble....however, again, I digress and will hasten to recommend this album to anyone who is a fan and has not yet heard ir, or someone who is looking for something new in this area of music. This is my first review, so I apologise if it lacks, or overstates anything, but I hope it will help some of you if only at a skim read, to decide on this CD.