Metalcore. One of my favourite genres. It has produced some legendary names. Killswitch Engage. All That Remains. Parkway Drive. Architects. God Forbid. The names go on and on and on. As a result, so does the genre.
It has also changed somewhat since that fateful day in 2002 when Killswitch Engage released ‘Alive or Just Breathing’, an album that to this day is still widely considered the crown jewel of the Metalcore collection. It’s got heavier. It’s got more technical. It’s got more aggressive.
Personal opinion time. I think it’s got better.
Bands like After the Burial, Erra, Heart of a Coward, I Killed the Prom Queen and many others have all helped evolve the genre.
You can add Bleed from Within (BFW) to that list as well.
Forming in Glasgow in 2005, Scott Kennedy (Vocals), Craig ‘Goonzi’ Gowans (Guitars), Steven Jones (Guitars), Davie Provan (Bass) and Ali Richardson (Drums) are now one of the bands tasked with ensuring the genre remains exciting, engaging, and enjoyable to listen to.
They are now 3 albums deep in to that task. Debut ‘Humanity’ was released in 2009, ‘Empire’ followed in 2010 and ‘Uprising’ was their Century Media Records debut in 2013. If their aim was to ensure they get better with each release, they achieved that with their brand of technically pummelling, thrash tinged Metalcore.
Does ‘Era’, their 2018 effort, continue that aim?
The answer is, quite emphatically, Yes. This record is a joy to listen to.
Opener ‘Clarity’ takes 25 seconds to kick in but when it does there are big riffs, double kick laden drums and a suitable dose of melody (which, as I have mentioned before, is usually a sure fire way of grabbing my attention). I love the fact that BFW blend melodic choruses and heavy choruses so well, often at the same time, which is the case here. The opening line of this chorus (“You can’t be forced to live a lie”) is both sang and subtly screamed as well, which I have always maintained is a great juxtaposition when used correctly and Kennedy uses it to perfection here.
‘Crown of Misery’ is a nod to old thrash metal. Circle pit friendly riffs and very reminiscent of early Sylosis (if you’re after a modern comparison). Once again there is great use of melody in the chorus, this time from the guitars with an almost Killswitch like pattern being used. There is also a super groove riff at 1:46 which put a huge smirk on my face.
There is also a music video, which can be found here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgEVGMEeXf4
‘Cast Down’ is once again an utter riff-fest. Some filthy head bang inspiring riffs present throughout, which also show off the musicians’ technical proficiency. This isn’t “chug chug chug” type Metalcore here. There are elements of death metal, thrash and tech metal all thrown in, which makes for gripping listening. The big riff at 2:16 is even, dare I say it, a bit Djenty. The kind of thing you’d hear on a Monuments record. The first big guitar solo follows this riff. The boys can shred as well as write riffs. Bleed from Within are leaving no stone unturned here.
Despite a relatively melodic introduction, ‘Afterlife’ breaks in to one of the heaviest head bobbing riffs on the whole record (I was actually caught head banging by my colleague at work when listening. I’d say I was embarrassed but I’d be lying if I did). There is a huge chorus here as well, which will draw plenty of crowd participation live as they shout “REPENT!” at the top of their voices. There is also a breakdown 3 minutes in that nearly caused me to crash my car. Savagery in musical form. Beautiful to listen to.
The music video can be found here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fxXMM74xXo
‘Shiver’ with its eerie chorus and ‘Bed of Snakes’ with its Bleeding Through-esque riffery keep things moving along before slow burner ‘I am Oblivion, Pt II’ introduces us to a slower side of BFW. Slower side doesn’t mean ballad, by the way, this is still a very heavy effort, but it provides a break from the relative break neck pace BFW have conducted themselves at on this album thus far.
‘Alone in the Sun’ restores that pace, with plenty of big riffs and a fantastic melody in the chorus. ‘Gatekeeper’ will have plenty of long haired metal heads wind milling their locks at shows and shows a real Lamb of God-esque maturity about it. ‘Ruina’ is another slow burner complete with dissonant guitar parts and what I interpreted as pretty political lyrics (“Our countries leaders will be walking with their heads held high, these cowards have deceived us”). A pretty huge breakdown follows around the 2:30 mark as well for those that love a good moment of chuggery.
‘Alive’ begins with a huge and very groovy riff, which reminds me of early God Forbid (RIP) before giving out to all out thrash in the verses and an aggressively palm muted chorus. ‘State Decay’ pummels your eardrums before album closer ‘Drag you to the Ground’ leaps in with its jump along riff and shout along chorus.
As Metalcore as ‘Era’ is, it’s more Metal than it is Core in my opinion. More Classic metal inspired than classic Metalcore. Which is absolutely fine, because given the song writing and technical ability on display throughout its thirteen tracks, ‘Era’ may well be another classic.
I have mentioned several other pioneers of the genre during this review, which shouldn’t be construed as a dig at BFW. It should be taken as a nod to the amount of excellent bands this genre has produced in the last 20 years. Bleed from Within are another band you can add to that growing list and the way they have forged their influences together on ‘Era’ is refreshing, but familiar at the same time.
Whilst many will sit around waiting for the big hitters of Metalcore to release their albums this year (both Parkway drive and Killswitch Engage have albums due in 2018) before commenting on the state of the genre, you absolutely must make sure that Bleed From Within’s ‘Era’ does not go under your radar.
A thunderously good record from Glasgow’s finest. Get it in your collection.
Bleed From Within – ‘Era’ Track List:
Crown of Misery
Bed of Snakes
I am Oblivion, Pt II
Alone in the Sun
Drag you to the Ground
Check out the following links for more info:
Website – https://bleedfromwithin.com