The Orange County crew have delivered their most satisfyingly ferocious set to date.
Mike Diver 2010
In hindsight, perhaps Gallows went too far in incorporating full orchestral passages in their second album, 2009’s Grey Britain. It’s one thing to have ambition, quite another to compromise the potency that made your name in the first place because you’ve the budget to employ a string section for an afternoon. So when Bleeding Through’s sixth studio LP opens with an instrumental, A Resurrection, the alarm bells begin to chime.
But the Orange County hardcore-goes-metal hybrids aren’t ones to taint their tonic without good reason, and the intro is merely a smokescreen for a blindsiding strike in the shape of Anti-Hero. When the first line of an album is “I want to suffer, I need to feel the pain and discontent”, the listener can rest fairly assured that what’s about to play out isn’t going to prove uncomfortably intellectualised. Anti-Hero is a furiously aggressive opening gambit proper, Slayer-challenging riffs building a head of corrosive steam that carries the sextet through a record that commentators elsewhere have already branded their best yet. This one certainly can’t argue any case against the claim.
After ten years of touring and recording, toilet-circuit navigation ultimately leading to sell-out shows at larger venues, it’d be easy to assume Bleeding Through had reached a kind of contentment. The fans are there, the records sell, job done. But passage from their last album, 2008’s Declaration, to here has been rocky after the group parted company with the Trustkill label. Prior to Declaration’s delayed release, vocalist Brandan Schieppati encouraged audiences to “steal it, download it illegally, whatever”. No love lost, there. The split saw them suffer a casualty within the ranks, too, as guitarist Jona Weinhofen left to join British metalcore crew Bring Me the Horizon. Dave Nassie, formerly of No Use for a Name, has stepped into the breach – and his contributions are vital to the alluring intensity of a record that doesn’t pull a single punch, raining blows like justified retribution is a completely alien concept to these brutes.
Admittedly, those not particularly familiar with the dramatic nature of Bleeding Through’s successful fusion of hardcore and metal, and the slightly hammy histrionics that come with it, will hear only noise. But there’s an uncommon poise to this group’s power, a complexity to their cacophonies that demands respect. And by evolving their formula without losing sight of the elements that it’s founded upon, they have delivered their most satisfyingly ferocious set to date.