Bleeding Through – The Great Fire – Review

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Over the span of Bleeding Throughs arching 14 year musical career, the band has covered more ground than a solar-powered lawnmower. Starting their journey as a garage metalcore/death metal band, this O.C. CA six-piece (then five) released the underrated gems “Dust To Ashes” and “Portrait Of A Goddess.” The band then shifted focus to a cleaner metalcore facade with their 2003, break-out effort “This Is Love, This Is Murderous” which was filled with rampant guitars, a superior vocal presence, and of course, the bands love for movie sound bytes. Since then BT has bounced around independent labels, changed genres a couple of times (finally settling on a sub-section of death metal with their previous albums “Declaration” and Self-titled), and managed to stave off upending group member exodus — a true test of strength now-a-days. With the announcement of the groups new album “The Great Fire,” and notice that the band would self-produce it, I was curious if they could still capture the melodic spirit and professional recording of past efforts.

When we last left them, Bleeding Through was exercising a mixture of the melodic metalcore of As I Lay Dying and the orchestral death metal of Dimmu Borgir on their brazen self-titled effort. “The Great Fire” therefore rightly doesn’t do too much to distance itself from the tried-and-true method of musical ear molesting. The steady build up of the opening intro “The March” where static-heavy guitars, mounting riffs, and orchestral posturing grow to a thick apex,  finally and lustfully charge into the blistering song “Faith In Fire,” which in true Tim Lambesis fashion, sounds like a mixture of Austrian Death Machine and a demonic carnival. In fact, much of the first half of the record does its best to speed metal through a multitude of verse/chorus combos featuring tablatures of blitzing fretwork and lurching orchestral movements and note-bent keyboards. Only the oddly placed clean vocal singing and scaled back guitars on tracks like “Final Hours” and “The Devil And Self Doubt” let us know we aren’t hearing one or two extremely long, repeating tracks — but also feel a bit too much like Avenged Sevenfold. ick.

The weirdly attractive theatrical presence that makes itself known in almost every Bleeding Through song, really hits a head with the haunting vocal accompaniment, eerie guitars and hazy effects of “Walking Dead.” Those in an orchestral death metal mood will love the unrelenting percussion and harassing 6-string spitfire that resonates from within “Step Back In Line.”  Finishing the album are a slew of left-field outings, with “Trail Of Seclusion” starting almost like a 1970′s wedding video with effects-laden organs that devolve into a fiery mix of experimental metal and metalcore, as well as the nonstop lunacy of the 1 minute 38 second blasting metal quickie “One By One,” and finally the echoed guitars and background wooing (yes wooing) of the steady-paced, fretwork-focused single “Entrenched.”

The Great Fire” continues where Bleeding Through left off with their brash efforts “Declaration” and “Bleeding Through” with a record that shows no mercy and definitely doesn’t make any compromises. You get what they give you, which is minute after minute of throat punching, ear-drum rupturing, death metal/metalcore sandwich. Marta’s up-heaving, seductive keys and the combination of Dave and Brian’s tightly knit and erratic guitars are what make BT and this album stand apart from peers in their genre — while bands like Caliban and Bury Your Dead struggle to make songs that don’t sound like bland smears of grey excrement. The euro death metal flavor also doesn’t go unnoticed, as it enriches the overall organic feel of every chug and solo contained within. So while the band continues to do business as usual, choosing to not reinvent the wheel, Bleeding Through has delivered another solid blow against the hunger for savage metalcore and orchestral death metal, that many have been afflicted with this year. [Staff]

Score: 3.75 (out of 5)

Release Date: January 31st, 2012
Record Label: Rise Records
Genre: Metalcore/Death Metal
RIYL: As I Lay Dying, Dimmu Borgir, Neaera

Track Listing:
1. The March
2. Faith in Fire
3. Goodbye to Death
4. Final Hours
5. Starving Vultures
6. Everything You Love Is Gone
7. Walking Dead
8. The Devil and Self Doubt
9. Step Back in Line
10. Trail of Seclusion
11. Deaf Ears
12. One by One
13. Entrenched
14. Back to Life

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