Review: Bleeding Through – The Great Fire

To many metalheads, they may just be ‘yet another metalcore band’, but let’s give credit where credit is due. Bleeding Through have always stood out for me, personally, because they’re not ‘just another metalcore band’. Yes, they play hardcore, yes they play metal, but Bleeding Through also incorporate sounds often heard more in other sub-genres to help create a more unique vision in the sea of metalcore. Beyond the two previous genres, Bleeding Through also make use of elements found more commonly in Swedish melodic death metal, symphonic black metal, industrial and thrash metal, to name a few.

So if Bleeding Through are that good and that unique, why aren’t they more widely acclaimed? And why do most metalheads still disregard them as another bland metalcore act? Well it probably comes down to how hit and miss Bleeding Through‘s catalog is. The Devin Townsend produced 2008 album Declaration may have been sublime, but other albums have been more lackluster when digested as a whole.

With that said, Bleeding Through released their new album The Great Fire a couple of months back, so make the jump to find out how the band’s latest effort stacks up.

Bleeding Through – The Great Fire

  1. The March – 1:44
  2. Faith in Fire – 1:57
  3. Goodbye to Death – 2:33
  4. Final Hours – 3:56
  5. Starving Vultures – 2:44
  6. Everything You Love Is Gone – 1:49
  7. Walking Dead – 4:05
  8. The Devil and Self Doubt – 3:02
  9. Step Back in Line – 2:47
  10. Trail of Seclusion – 3:41
  11. Deaf Ears – 2:54
  12. One by One – 1:38
  13. Entrenched – 3:42
  14. Back to Life – 2:38

Often being hit and miss, besides Declaration (and that’s at a push), Bleeding Through have arguably never released a truly brilliant album. After a few decent albums, the band began to find fame with the above average 2003’s This is Love, This is Murderous. After this promising start, however, the band were criticized for follow up, The Truth, in 2006, which was viewed by some as “dumbed down” and “generic”. 2008’s Declaration was met with almost universal acclaim, but failed to sell highly and again did not go by without its fair share of criticisms from some. By the time the last album came out, the self-titled, pretty much no one cared apart from me (and I can tell you, it was average).

So why am I a fan? I pretty much just said the band were hit and miss and that half their discography is average. Well, the reason is because when the band do it right and hit instead of miss, they hit fucking hard. The same can be said for this album.

With The Great Fire, again Bleeding Through do try and stick to what they do best. Which is of course melodic blackened symphonic death metalcore. This means again, you’ll be on the receiving end of furiously fast fret work, punishing blast beats , atmospheric orchestration and the collision of brutal aggression and emotional melody. If for whatever reason you don’t like Bleeding Through, this album probably won’t do much to change your mind. So presumably, it’ll be the fans who will be wanting to know whether this album is one of their best, or one of the worst.

Compared to the band’s last album, The Great Fire is a far more harder and aggressive effort. Something that fans of Declaration and heavier music in general will no doubt welcome. The album follows for the most part, the general fast and furious verses, and aggressive (occasionally melodic) choruses (sometimes sung, sometimes screamed, sometimes both). Don’t forget the traditional hardcore breakdowns either. Although it’s business as usual, that isn’t to say that there isn’t more Bleeding Through bring to the table this time round. The keyboards and melodies have really been honed this time, and on some tracks, really create a much more focused and impressive sound.

Some of the best parts of the album are where the band push things further than they have before. For example the black metal-esque style pushed in both ‘The Devil and Self Doubt’ (Which features some brilliant piano work courtesy of Marta Peterson) and ‘Step Back in Line’. My favorite tracks, however, are the ones where the band have really pushed their aggressive, yet emotive sound further. The perfect example of this is tenth track ‘Trail of Seclusion’ which somehow manages to combine the heaviest and most melodic side of the band, with a bit of 80’s cheesy power metal thrown in for good measure, and still be damn fucking good.

Despite being an incredibly strong effort, like predecessors, The Great Fire suffers from the moments in between the ‘hits’.  Although noticeably fewer ‘misses’ than some of their albums (*cough* The Truth *cough*), some of the tracks do kind of blend into one and follow a similar pattern. That said, this time around the misses are fewer and further in between.

As a whole, The Great Fire picks up where Bleeding Through left off and doesn’t stray from the formula too much. However, it is the more focused use of keyboards and melody this time that has really helped the album be one of the band’s best. While other metalcore bands struggle to right more than 12 songs together without it sounding like one long load of breakdowns and horse ejaculation, Bleeding Through again manage to stand out from the crowd with this effort. Luscious use of keys, haunting melodies, eerie synths, viscous riffs and pummeling riffs make this album a must for Bleeding Through fans. For those who can take them or leave the band though, you won’t find much you haven’t heard before here.

Overall, while it may not re-invent the wheel, The Great Fire is home to some of Bleeding Through‘s finest tracks yet. A far more brutal album, blending some of the finest element of the wide metal genre, but let down by a few filler tracks.

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