Bleeding Through

The Great Fire

Written by: AP on 07/05/2012 20:52:10

It has been far too long since one of my reviews last graced the frontpage of this magazine, so what better way to get things rolling than with one of the more grandiose releases lingering on my to-do list. Since the inoffensive, watered down metalcore of "The Truth" in 2006, Bleeding Through have taken consistent steps at refashioning their sound into a successful fusion of traditional hardcore and symphonic black metal, first with "Declaration" in 2008, then with the self-titled epos in 2010, and now with this latest creation: "The Great Fire".

In accordance with the two previous efforts, the synth backed chugging of "The March" sets an ominous tone for the rest of the album, but although the following trio "Faith in Fire", "Goodbye to Death" and "Final Hours" revel in engaging brutality and grandeur, it quickly becomes clear that Bleeding Through have no intentions to venture beyond the soundscape they have explored for the past four years, for better or worse. The instrumentation is undeniably solid, with Marta Peterson's haunting, Cradle of Filth style synth arrangements providing a magnificent backdrop to Brian Leppke and Dave Nassie's melodeath inspired guitar work, and the frequent breakdowns sound downright monolithic, but listening to "Starving Vultures" and "Walking Dead" it is difficult not to sense a certain lack of great ideas looming beneath the operatic surface.

With a few exceptions, the fourteen songs presented deal furious, relatively short blasts of extreme metal adorned with tough guy attitude, more often than not beginning with a blastbeat backed tremolo lead, breaking down in the middle, and concluding in dense chugging. It is the band's refusal to abandon this formula even once that is the album's greatest pitfall, and a genuine pity considering the talent at the band's disposal. Another aspect that plagues the quality of the album, and certainly does no favors to Bleeding Through's extreme image, is the occasional incorporation of clean vocals which, let's face it, vocalist Brandon Schieppati is not particularly skilled at (see "Final Hours" and "The Devil and Self Doubt" for examples).

So while "The Great Fire" does see Bleeding Through embrace the symphonic element even more so than on previous efforts, the sad fact remains that the only truly memorable piece the album has to offer is "Trail of Seclusion", on which the band dares experiment with an 80's hair metal influence to decent effect. Longtime fans of the band will no doubt be satisfied by its clinging to the past, but those looking to be surprised or challenged will need to look elsewhere.


Download: Goodbye to Death, Walking Dead, Trail of Seclusion
For the fans of: All Shall Perish, The Breathing Process, Winds of Plague
Listen: Facebook

Release date 31.01.2012
Rise Records

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