Bleed From Within – Fracture
Century Media Records
Release Date: 29/05/2020
Running Time: 42:10
Review by Steven Hooke
It’s mad to think we almost lost Bleed From Within to nothing more than sheer ignorance once upon a time. Frontman Scott Kennedy had the audacity to have a fringe in the early 2010s, at the height of modern metalcore’s popularity, and the scourge of “that’s not metal!” music fans tried their damnedest to ignore and dismiss the Scottish outfit before listening to a single note. However, what they weren’t counting on was the absolute thunderbastard of BFW’s third studio album “Uprising”, an extension of their deathcore sound, now featuring melodies rooted in Sweden’s melodic death metal scene that firmly separated them from any Horizon or Alexandria-based contemporaries.
Following a brief hiatus and a change in the guitar guard, BFW returned for their fourth album in 2018. “Era” was the confirmation, should anyone have needed it, that the lads could still go, settling further into the melodeath direction of “Uprising” with an ample selection of riffs and grooves, whilst also using the opportunity to dabble with cleaner vocals, with FNG Steven Jones largely backing some of Kennedy’s lighter screams, causing the kind of vocal layering that sounds like the vocal choir of Hell’s Fifth Circle.
“Fracture” sees Bleed From Within’s musical evolution continue into heights few could predicted, even when taking into consideration the trajectory of their last few albums. It’s not just about taking more influence from melodic death metal or the step-forward in the use of Jones’ clean vocals, every aspect of the band’s sound now feels sharpened, the performances of everyone involved is of the highest tier and Bleed From Within now look like a band of limitless ascendancy.
Opener ‘The End Of All We Know’ puts the tone of the album firmly into place. No floaty intro track, no spoken-word world builder, it is a succession of neck-snapping riffs backed by the stomp of Ali Richardson’s beats that tell the listener that COVID isn’t the only thing about to fuck your world up. The track is also the first time we hear the trade-offs between Kennedy and Jones. Any clean vocal style would typically bring fear and terror to the troo metal purist (anyone remember Suicide Silence?), but Jones’ tone and delivery only seek to add to the diversity of the band’s sound, allowing for moments of genuine melodic brutality, that we’ll see in its fullest on tracks like ‘Ascend’ and the title track.
While the first half of the album establishes what this album is, the second half is a whirlpool of white-hot energy and power that should define exactly just who the fuck Bleed From Within are.
‘Night Crossing’ sees Scott prove that he’s no slouch in the clean vocal department, belting out a rattling thrash chorus betwixt a series of leering grooves and a cameo appearance from everyone’s heavy metal best friend Matt Heafy. It is a pretty much a half-and-half split in the album’s latter half between vocal superiority and being torn asunder by resident riff machine Goonzi which occurs somewhere in ‘Ascend’. Backed by the rhythm section of Richardson and Davie Provan, Goonzi – who has already been on top form for the duration of the album – finds that extra little something, laying waste to ‘Ascend’ to almost comical levels, before employing a stomp on ‘Utopia’ that would make Meshuggah sweat, before finishing off on a groove from the school of Deftones’ ‘Swerve City’ for closer ‘A Depth That No One Dares’.
You would be forgiven for being caught off-guard by “Fracture”. Even if you had been following the band since their first note nearly 15 years ago, the step-up here is reserved for metal’s elite. In the year of our lord 2020, we’ve had high profile metal releases from the likes of Trivium, Sylosis, The Black Dahlia Murder, an influx of the next generation from Loathe and Irist, for Bleed From Within to standout in the way that they have speaks volumes for the band they have become and the potential for what may come next.
01. The End of All We Know
03. Into Nothing
04. Fall Away
06. Night Crossing [ft. Matt Heafy (Trivium)]
07. For All to See
10. A Depth That No One Dares
Scott Kennedy – Lead Vocals
Craig “Goonzi” Gowans – Lead Guitar
Steven Jones – Rhythm Guitar, Clean Vocals
Davie Provan – Bass
Ali Richardson – Drums, Percussion
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