Roundup – August 2018

A roundup of my top picks from the past month.

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August has been a ridiculous month for new music. I’ve barely reviewed what I’ve wanted to review but that hasn’t stopped me from listening to a load of kick ass metal!


Metalmance Top 3 Releases from August

I keep saying it each month but bloody hell choosing my list for Album of the Year is going to be extremely difficult if this pedigree of top notch metal continues. Here are my top albums of the past 31 days…

1

LEECHED – You Took The Sun When You Left. Release date: 24 August.

Leeched

This is utter filth. LEECHED sound like NAILS if they got in a fight with TRAPPED THEM and CURSED. Their balls are as big as the riffs on the record. Like the album title suggests this is a very dark piece of work. You won’t want to listen to this if you need cheering up. Songs such as By The Factories, Guilt and the title track absolutely decimate the senses and crush all hope. A Mouth Full Of Dirt is a hardcore delight in the same vein as HARM’S WAY. This is an incredibly brutal debut album, it’s no wonder they’ve been snapped up by Prosthetic Records and were invited to Tech Fest this year. I’ve found I have to listen to You Took The Sun When You Left with a light on to retain any sense of positivity I may still have. Absolutely devastating, and this is just the beginning.

2

EXOCRINE – Molten Giant. Release date: 13 August.

EXOCRINE

You may remember last month I reviewed this terrific album and was singing its praises. I was anticipating the reaction it would get from fellow fans and death metal enthusiasts. Let’s just say Molten Giant has been a massive hit in death metal circles. It’s an amazing feat of glorious progressive death metal, but so many songs on here are so memorable such as Scorched Human Society, Hayato and Flamewalkers, that fans have been saying EXOCRINE have achieved getting their songs stuck in their heads. Is this an example of CATCHY death metal? One thing’s for sure, their riffs are hella catchy too. If I’m still frequently listening to an album a month after I’ve reviewed it then that usually means it’s really struck a chord with me! I think Molten Giant is only going to manifest further with time, give it a few more months and it may very well creep up my album of the year list.

3

JESUS PIECE – Only Self. Release date: 24 August.

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There seems to be a growing trend of ‘mucky hardcore’ bands as I like to call them, from CODE ORANGE and NO ZODIAC to newer bands such as VEIN (there’s a lot of hype about them isn’t there) and LEECHED, but you can add JESUS PIECE to that list now. This debut album is absolutely outrageous. Workhorse has a fantastic pace to it, Curse of the Serpent sounds like if CODE ORANGE listened to more powerviolence, and Adamant sounds like reeeaaaally old school EIGHTEEN VISIONS. The rage, the passion, the aggression just pours out of Only Self, it is an utterly compelling debut. Just imagine what venom they will spit out in the next release. Powerful stuff.


On the playlist…

Some choice pickings of other releases I’ve been enjoying this month.

HOMELANDS – Hurt People Hurt People EP. Release date: 18 May 2018.

Homelands

There is definitely something in the water in Norfolk, what with all these promising bands emerging from the rump of the British Isles and all. HOMELANDS is such a band and their debut EP Hurt People Hurt People is so full of grit and determination it’s no wonder I keep seeing them name dropped by other local bands and groups further afield. It’s hard to figure out who HOMELANDS can be likened to; they have the contemporary energy of OUR HOLLOW, OUR HOME and COUNTERPARTS yet there is something really old school about their approach that in some songs such as Pleas, there is an air of I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN about them. However, they still have a lot of work to do before they reach this level. The foundations are there and they clearly have the drive and potential, I’m just hoping they’ll gain the confidence to really go for it with their next release. It’s clear from listening to tracks like Growing Pains and Humble Beginnings that they’re borrowing from their influences, but my main wish is for guitarist/clean vocalist James Clayton to really belt out his cleans and get them up in the mix. I don’t approve adding clean vocals in choruses just for the sake of it but Clayton isn’t half bad and the dynamic with main vocalist Nathan Locke is a strong one. HOMELANDS are still at a very early stage in their career, it would be good to see them take more risks to set the band apart from the rest.

THE VILIFICATION – The World Owes You Nothing EP. Release date: 30 March 2018.

Vilification

Ontario band THE VILIFICATION are a bit of a mixed bag. They brand themselves as progressive/technical metal yet a load of other influences and styles are chucked into the pot. The prog tech influences are there with the chaos of SIKTH and the ambition of PERIPHERY, but what stands out for me is the emotive hardcore vocals. There’s me expecting some gruff vocals and flawless cleans but instead we’re confronted with Ben Tranter’s raw and passionate screams. It’s quite a distinctive combination. Tracks like Shuffling and Through Iron Sights have the obvious SIKTH riffs but some elements remind me of Suicide Season-era BRING ME THE HORIZON; that kind of edgy, in your face aggression. A Vicarious Life is an awesome finale for the EP, all the components of THE VILIFICATION come to the fore and the vocals are stellar. This is a very exciting EP and I’m really hoping when they do release a full length that it’s going to push boundaries and blow everyone away.


It ain’t metal, but I like it…

My little section to non-metal bands I’ve been listening to this month.

TRUEHEIGHTS – Days We Found EP. Release date: 6 April 2018.

TrueHeights

To be fair, TRUEHEIGHTS are musically heavy enough to be featured in Metalmance in their own right but I wanted to differentiate them from the ‘pure’ metal in this roundup, as TRUEHEIGHTS are probably one of the most exciting emerging UK rock acts in recent years. What I find so exciting about them is they harness the energy of forgotten bands such as CANTERBURY and ATTACK! ATTACK! (the Welsh one, not the crabcore one) while bringing British rock kicking and screaming into 2018 with their intelligent approach. Yes, the vocals are good but the accompaniment backs it up perfectly for a fully encompassing sound which fills the stereo. First track Exit Route is a hark back to these bands but Catalyst is more like FORT HOPE with its slower and melodic pace. The band channel their inner GASLIGHT ANTHEM and FUTURES in No Tomorrow for an irresistible pop anthem. I haven’t felt this optimistic about a rising British rock act since YOU ME AT SIX and TWIN ATLANTIC, and look at where those bands are now. There is a magic and a colour about TRUEHEIGHTS that makes them unforgettable. They’re already rocking the radio and topping independent charts, who knows what true heights (sorry, not sorry) the band can reach.

Stillbirth – Annihilation of Mankind

Label: Unique Leader Records. Release date: 31 August 2018.

It’s shaping up to be a stellar year for slamming death metal, with brutal releases already from the likes of WITHIN DESTRUCTION and INGESTED. Now it’s time for the return of Germany’s STILLBIRTH – and they’re taking no prisoners. Fifth album Annihilation of Mankind is an evident step up in terms of brutality and groove – no wonder Unique Leader Records want a piece of the forthcoming carnage. Like its namesake, this record absolutely annihilates the lugholes.

Opening track Fictional Entertainment would please Unique Leader fans with its similarities to other bands on its roster; the unforgiving brutality and technicality of EXOCRINE coupled with the bold grooves and stomping riffs of DYSCARNATE and not forgetting the outrageous slam elements of INGESTED. This is going to be a death metal fan’s idea of paradise. Enemy of the Enemy is when we really start receiving a colossal battering. The rumbling bass is akin to the impending doom of a hardcore beatdown, but we don’t get away so lightly. Instead we’re subjected to screeching guitars, slamming screams, ferocious drums and a glorious DECAPITATED Organic Hallucinosis-esque riotous middle.

Hypnotized By Lies is an impeccable slab of hardcore riffs, slamming beatdowns and just an outrageous violence to proceedings. INGESTED fans will approve. Psychological Manipulation begins as a straight-up death metal track but the extreme vocal expertise of Lukas Swiaczny comes to the fore. A disgustingly awesome track, it is utterly unforgiving.

Firstrike is a bit of a stomper. Not as obliterating as previous tracks, it feels like more of a slow death. A terrific groove kicks in after a minute and a half and pulls you in further. The technicality of this track shines amongst the dimness of the concept. Next track Highest of Malice features the incredible Duncan Bentley of VULVODYNIA, so you know it’s going to sound like the aural equivalent of getting your face ripped off. Bentley has guested on several tracks this year including songs by WITHIN DESTRUCTION and MIRE LORE, but this just tears a new one. Steam-rolling their way through the album, we’re halfway through Annihilation of Mankind already. Still alive? Stay with me.

Torturized says it on the tin. With an enticing beginning, it soon pulls you in for a hiding. This song is absolutely insane. The same could be said for the epic Plague of Warfare, with its intriguing electronics which gives this belter an extra edge. This is a no-nonsense track. It gets the job done of obliterating our senses and leaving us helpless in its wake. With spectacular deathcore screams, things take a menacing turn. This darker vibe continues with Torn Apart. Absolutely superb.

The ferocious drums and guitars in Nuclear Stench make it one of the most instantly punishing tracks on the album. However, when The Sky Turns Black kicks in you’ll immediately run for cover. A fantastically fast-paced tune, the old DECAPITATED influences are back again but STILLBIRTH ramps things up tenfold with their hardcore beats and irresistible grooves.

Annihilation of Mankind is brought to a crushing close with its title track. It is four minutes of all that STILLBIRTH have to offer. If you haven’t already gathered what I mean from reading this review, then what I mean is PURE, RELENTLESS BRUTALITY. Listen at your own peril.

Anaal Nathrakh + The Atrocity Exhibit

The Black Heart, Camden. 11 August 2018.

London was quite a hubbub of metalheads this evening, what with IRON MAIDEN and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE playing the O2 Arena and the Progmetalmadness all-dayer at New Cross Inn. Two hundred metalheads had chosen to embark instead to the sweatbox that is the Black Heart, Camden for an extra special night – the preview show of ANAAL NATHRAKH’s forthcoming album A New Kind of Horror. Of course a band of this calibre in a venue this small was going to sell out the night so it was a very hot and cramped evening…the perfect environment for some extreme metal carnage. The band always claim to be the soundtrack to Armageddon so we were lucky to survive the set.

Warming up the crowd tonight were the utterly mad THE ATROCITY EXHIBIT. Their sludgy grindcore in the clammy mist made sure everyone felt a bit of crust (see what I did there), but it was in between the band sets which was possibly the most exciting part of the evening. Fans were treated to an entire and uninterrupted playthrough of A New Kind Of Horror over the PA. Lead single Forward! sounded as brutal as ever and the majority of the crowd already knew the words. As the concept is the First World War, the sound effects of the shells expertly added amongst the riffs is just so disgustingly clever and judging by the look on punters’ faces it’s been well received by fans. As I listened to the album I thought the big riffs, bold motifs and general feel were not too dissimilar to Vanitas and I’m absolutely thrilled about that as that album is perfection. It was reassuring to see the rest of the crowd’s approval too. This album is going to absolutely slay.

It was time for a second helping of ANAAL NATHRAKH, this time with the actual band themselves gracing us with their presence. Tonight was being live streamed so things were bound to get rowdy, but tonight was one of those gigs when you end up being covered in someone else’s beer 0.0002 seconds into the set. No one was safe tonight, the whole room was one big pit, complete with a wall of death and numerous stage divers (despite the stage being only one step-up). The band brought out all the fan favourites including Forging Towards The Sunset and More Of Fire Than Blood and treated the crowd to a live rendition of Forward! Considering we’d already heard it tonight it was still like hearing it for the first time.

Flawless is one word to sum up the evening. In a live setting vocalist V.I.T.R.I.O.L sounds as ferocious as ever, confirming my thought that he is one of the most severely underrated extreme metal vocalists out there. You cannot fault him. You cannot fault the music either, Mick Kenney is a musical genius and hearing ANAAL NATHRAH live is like a full on aural assault. Don’t be surprised if A New Kind Of Horror ends up being contender for album of the year.

Manes – Slow Motion Death Sequence

Label: Debemur Morti Productions. Release date: 24 August 2018.

Norwegian experimental/electronic metallers MANES have always a bit of an elusive band to me. I first discovered them when they released their third studio album How The World Came To An End through Candlelight Records. I heard Deeprooted on a sampler and it stood out amongst the rest of the extreme metal and after that I was trying to find out more about them and find their music. This was before the majority of bands were on social media and before Spotify was easily accessible so I could never find out much about them. They were a mysterious entity to me and that’s one part of why they’re exciting. Now in the age of all the information of the world being at our fingertips I’ve discovered more about them and their music. However having said this, they’re still a mysterious and unpredictable band and MANES continue to exude this with Slow Motion Death Sequence, their fifth album.

I’ve always relished in the intensity of MANES. Their compositions have always been a brooding and tense affair but with such a clever and expertly executed delivery that makes the tense atmosphere subtle at the start until you’re too late to escape from the enveloping darkness. Slow Motion Death Sequence is no different. It took a few listens for the album to ‘click’ but when you can give it your full attention it is easy to succumb to its cinematic ambience.

Slow Motion Death Machine opens with the haunting Endetidstegn. MANES always have superb climatic songs and this opener is no different. The build up slowly fills your ears and lapses into a hectic ruckus. An atmospheric frenzy also occurs towards the end of Scion, the track which arguably has the best intro of the album. The song itself is an unsettling, dramatic electronic extravaganza with its 80s vibes and textural depth.

Chemical Heritage is a little treat. Opening with a dreamlike sequence and soothing bass, the vocals grate less on this song giving it a warm tonality. The guitar tone is also glorious and makes for a brilliant guitar-driven break in the middle of the song. Things go a bit old school in Therapism. At the start it sounds like it’s going to go full-on 90s club music, but MANES reign it in and let the atmosphere slowly escalate. The band also show once again how effectively they use spoken word samples (I’m thinking again of Deeprooted).

After a slow ‘ballad’ in the form of Last Resort (think ARCADE FIRE mixed with a bit of BOWIE) things get interesting with Poison Enough For Everyone. With it’s unsettling, whirring intro, it sprawls into an experimental mass of clunky NINE INCH NAILS style notes, crooning vocals and OPEN HAND-like use of layered female vocals. This is MANES at their stirring best.

Building the ship of Theseus sounds suspiciously upbeat on the surface, with its bold riff and melodic start. It’s one of the band’s straight up rock songs, but it doesn’t sound out of place on the album as it is still expertly composed and delivered with a MANES flourish. The mystery and intrigue return in bucketloads in Night Vision with its unnerving piano and heavy guitars. One of the masterpieces of the album, this song is oddly addictive to listen to.

Slow Motion Death Machine is at serious risk of exposing MANES as heavyweights in experimental music and a sublime album such as this needs a spectacular finale. Luckily Ater is the brooding conclusion this record deserves, with its atmospheric textures and echoes and haunting vocals it makes for a superb ending. The Norwegians have once again outdone themselves, their mad genius is hard to replicate, ensuring their sound is uniquely MANES.

 

METALMANCE RETROSPECTIVE: Bleeding Through

Rediscovering the back catalogue of one of the most important bands in metalcore.

BLEEDING THROUGH will always hold a special place in my heart for three reasons. The first reason being the band includes one member of the band EIGHTEEN VISIONS (Brandan Schieppati, the vocalist), and if you’ve been following my blog for a while you will know EIGHTEEN VISIONS are my favourite band. The second reason why BLEEDING THROUGH mean so much is because they were my first ever gig! I always joke I was waiting for a special band to lose my ‘gig virginity’ to as funny as that sounds, but I’m glad I waited until I was 16 and I saw BLEEDING THROUGH at Colchester Arts Centre with JOB FOR A COWBOY and THROWDOWN as support. Now if you are familiar with the OC straight edge scene you can probably guess why I was even more excited that THROWDOWN were supporting. THROWDOWN, BLEEDING THROUGH and EIGHTEEN VISIONS were always swapping members and playing shows together back in the day so seeing two of my ‘big three’ in one night almost blew my little mind. Especially as EIGHTEEN VISIONS had already broken up by this time and I thought I would never get to see them live (fortunately I was wrong!) and so BLEEDING THROUGH and THROWDOWN felt like the next best thing!

The third reason of course is because BLEEDING THROUGH consistently released albums of such superb quality and were pioneers of the metalcore scene (sorry if you hate that word). They’re one of those rare bands who have the energy of a hardcore band, the brutality of the hardest metalcore and some of the most mesmerising symphonic elements, of which never sound out of place or cheesy. There is no bad album and when the band split in 2014, they ended on a high. This year they announced their reformation AND released their new album Love Will Kill All. This retrospective will express my thoughts and memories of each album, along with favourite tracks. I also did a little digging through my old CD-ROMs of photos I’ve taken at gigs to choose a featured image for this post. What did I think of the new album? Continue reading to find out!

 

Dust To Ashes, 2001

Dust to Ashes

Unfortunately BLEEDING THROUGH’s debut is the album I’ve listened to the least, mainly because it’s so difficult to get hold of and I can only really listen to it on YouTube. Some of the tracks were later re-recorded for their second album such as Ill Part 2, Turns Cold to the Touch and Just Another Pretty Face, so I’ve never felt much of a need to keep returning to this album. It’s interesting to hear the strong EIGHTEEN VISIONS influences in this album, from Schieppati’s vocal delivery and songwriting to some of the structures and riffs. For a debut metalcore album in the early noughties, the production isn’t actually that bad!

Favourite track: Thrones of Agony.

I love the swagger of this song, the guitar licks and the breakdowns. The riffs were so ahead of their time. Quite a lot happens in this song, there are punk influences to hints of doom and it packs a punch, bringing their debut album to a blistering close.

 

Portrait of The Goddess, 2002

Portrait of the Goddess

This second album is always severely overlooked but it’s my favourite of BLEEDING THROUGH’s early albums. This is when the foundations of the band’s sound were truly set. Yes most of the songs were reworkings of tracks from the debut album but new tracks such as Wake of Orion and the title track show the promising direction the band were heading. Before AVENGED SEVENFOLD became one of the world’s biggest bands, the band played shows with BLEEDING THROUGH and M. Shadows lent his vocals to the track Savior, Saint, Salvation. It’s funny how the beginning of this track sounds like something A7X would release later in their career and shows how some bands in the scene became huge and how others crashed and burned.

Favourite track: Rise.

I am a mega fan of HIMSA and John Pettibone and the HIMSA singer guests on this fantastic track. Rise opens Portrait of the Goddess and it’s a tough song for others to follow because it’s just so good. I love the groove, I love the keys and I love the heaviness of this track. One of my favourite BLEEDING THROUGH tracks of all time.

 

This Is Love, This Is Murderous, 2003

This Is Love

Their third album This Is Love, This Is Murderous was the band’s breakthrough album and one of Trustkill Records best selling records of all time. This album is an important album for metalcore as BLEEDING THROUGH were doing things slightly differently and their format set the bar for their contemporaries and new bands. Listening back to the album now the production is quite bad but somehow this gives the record a mysterious charm. It’s aged pretty well, the riffs still sound as brutal as ever and you can hear how metalcore and even deathcore bands today took influence from This Is Love, This Is Murderous. The breakdowns on this album are something else. All the classics are here too from Love Lost In A Hail of Gun Fire, Revenge I Seek and On The Wings of Lead and samples from The Boondock Saints. If you haven’t listened to this slab of metal history then you seriously need to educate yourself.

Favourite track: Number Seven With a Bullet.

It was a hard decision between this track and City of the Condemned, but I chose Number Seven With a Bullet as it has the beginnings of the classic BLEEDING THROUGH sound. It also rages hard, some parts of this song are way ahead of its time. This track is a perfect example of what metalcore should be, a seamless mix of metal and hardcore. BLEEDING THROUGH always have and always will be masters at this.

 

The Truth, 2006

The TruthThis was the first album by BLEEDING THROUGH I bought and listened to. I remember hearing the single Kill To Believe and being overwhelmed by how heavy it was. I loved the chorus, I loved the keys and I just loved how fast and heavy the intro was, I hadn’t heard anything quite like it. The whole album is an unstoppable beast and nothing quite matches the pacing of this record. It’s a violent whirlwind all the way through. It slows down a tad with the ballad Line In The Sand, but this still sounds so urgent and melodically heavy they just about get away with it. I still argue this is the most unforgiving and brutal of their releases. It’s so unashamedly aggressive (remember the music videos for singles Kill To Believe and Love In Slow Motion?!) and I think it’s the anger that resonated with fans as everyone could relate in some form or another whether it would be heartbreak or feeling like a failure. BLEEDING THROUGH are so relatable and I think this is a strength to their music.

Favourite track: Dearly Demented.

This track has so many breathtaking elements, from it’s speedy pace to its climatic chorus and Marta’s amazing keys (the first album she is credited fully with BLEEDING THROUGH). One standout part of Dearly Demented though is the guest appearance of NIck 13 from rockabilly legends TIGER ARMY. It adds a really eerie dynamic to the track and takes it to a new high. This song is an example of everything BLEEDING THROUGH have to offer and so much more.

 

Declaration, 2008

Declaration

Recently I’ve seen people claim this is the best BLEEDING THROUGH album, I don’t necessarily agree but I can understand why this is a favourite for a lot of BLEEDING THROUGH fans. Declaration is when the blackened elements really ramp up and when they really start to push the genre of metalcore. A part of me felt a tad disappointed hearing this album, mostly because I thought The Truth was a masterpiece so I guess my expectations were high. This was also the first album without one of the founding members Scott Danough so a big part of the BLEEDING THROUGH magic had gone. It’s quite evident as the chaotic riffs are missing in Declaration. Instead the band had Jona Weinhofen from I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN (and after he left BLEEDING THROUGH he joined BRING ME THE HORIZON) who brought the big riffs. All the songs on this album have their own little flourishes and sounds. From the dark, brutal energy of Germany, the post-hardcore opening of There Was A Flood to the disgusting heaviness of Reborn From Isolation, this album shows BLEEDING THROUGH experimenting with different styles and it makes for a very exciting album.

Favourite track: Orange County Blond and Blue.

To be honest it was either going to be this or Death Anxiety but I chose Orange County Blond and Blue because I remember they previewed the song when I saw them live and I thought it sounded extremely beefy. The opening riff reminds me of older BLEEDING THROUGH and the chorus is just so catchy in its own ferocious way. Groovy and hard as nails this song is a winner.

 

Bleeding Through, 2010

Self TitledI think this album doesn’t receive the credit it deserves. I’ve always thought this album is the most overlooked but it just absolutely slays. This is when we started to see BLEEDING THROUGH becoming the modern metalcore force that they still are today. With songs like Anti-Hero having a thrashy stance and Your Abandonment sounding a bit like DIMMU BORGIR, it goes to show once again how comfortable the band were at pushing the boundaries of metalcore and writing a straight up heavy release. Schieppati was also being bold with his clean vocals on Salvation Never Found and Distortion, Devotion which are absolute stellar tracks. This album also saw the introduction of the band’s mantra of ‘Nothing is over’ which can be heard in the obliteratingly heavy Breathing in the Wrath. A stunning album from start to finish it still sounds like a colossal feat.

Favourite track: Slow Your Roll.

I adore this track, from the dark electronics, the brutal beginning and to the CRADLE OF FILTH-esque verses, Slow Your Roll is a perfect example of metalcore brutality. The way it crashes in at the start and never lets up, it’s unstoppable and Schieppati sounds like a total beast.

 

The Great Fire, 2012

The Great Fire

One of the reasons why I was absolutely gutted when BLEEDING THROUGH originally called it a day was because their last album The Great Fire was by far one of their best. Fast, brutal and relentless it was a true tour de force. It was heavy with blackened influences which is why the album shone so much. As usual Schieppati is full of hatred and anger but this is by far their darkest album musically. I wouldn’t be surprised if the big blackened deathcore acts of today didn’t take influence from this album, some riffs really sound like ANAAL NATHRAKH and it just sounds so goddamn evil. The gothic keys really give the album a sense of menace and impending doom, creating quite a suffocating atmosphere. At the time of their split I was glad they ended their career on such a high, unlike some of their peers. I saw this album as a real achievement and an example of a veteran metalcore band pushing the genre’s boundaries and creating a blackened masterpiece. The final track Back To Life will stick with me until the end of time.

Favourite track: Goodbye to Death.

I’ve probably said this about my other favourite album tracks but this song as it all. Goodbye to Death is absolutely mental. I don’t know how many times I’ve had this song on repeat but it still gives me chills. A stunningly heavy track it has a hardcore punk pacing with oodles of gothic elements and the most brutal of metalcore riffs. This song is outrageous.

 

Love Will Kill All, 2018

Love Will Kill All

One thing I love about this album is that it was produced by ANAAL NATHRAKH’s Mick Kenney (who also produced Schieppati’s solo project THE IRON SON and EIGHTEEN VISION’s comeback album too) so there are some brilliant blackened ANAAL NATHRAKH-esque passages. Fade Into The Ash is a brilliant comeback track, demonstrating Schieppati’s improved vocals and the band’s wicked return to songwriting. The album sounds a cross between Declaration and their self-titled which is a winning combination. The blackened riffs are out in force, especially in No Friends and the whole record oozes confidence and attitude. This is BLEEDING THROUGH returning all guns blazing and showing the new kids how it’s done. The band always return with a gang-vocal-tastic song and the first song they released off Love Will Kill All was no different; Set Me Free has a hard as nails chorus but also spectacular black metal screams halfway through the track. No One From Nowhere is a gloriously brutal track proving the band are back on fine form. A perfect return for the Kings and Queen of metalcore.

Favourite track: Life.

This is probably everyone’s favourite track from Love Will Kill All because of one reason, and one reason only. Marta’s bloody brilliant vocals. How has it taken it this long for her haunting warbles to grace a BLEEDING THROUGH track? It brings the album to an absolutely chilling close. The band have always been full of feeling but this song triggers all the feels. Welcome back BLEEDING THROUGH.

The Five Hundred – Bleed Red

Label: Long Branch Records. Release date: 17 August 2018.

If you’ve been following my blog since its beginning you may have seen I namedrop THE FIVE HUNDRED here and there as I have reviewed a lot of their contemporaries and it’s hard not to compare certain bands to this promising Nottingham mob. However, the band’s contribution to the British tech scene is only set to get bigger. If you read my Tech Fest review you will know THE FIVE HUNDRED absolutely smashed their set and the new music they are about to unleash unto the world is HUGE. Their previous EPs Winters and The Veil have a dark and brooding techy vibe to them but with their debut album Bleed Red the band are ready to take risks and it’s gonna pay off!

The album kicks off with the title track but on the first listen you’re flabbergasted at this progression in sound. Who is this band?! This track is a bit of a departure from the darkness of their older material. Bleed Red is larger than life and possesses a confident sound, its energy is infectious and boundless. The LAMB OF GOD-like gang vocals were an unexpected opener. Can we also talk about how much vocalist Johnathan Woods-Eley has improved? His melodic vocals always carried the EPs but with this first track he’s utterly surpassed all that he’s done before. THE FIVE HUNDRED project themselves as a truly unstoppable force.

Second track Smoke and Mirrors is possibly my favourite on the album, purely because of its incredible KILLSWITCH ENGAGE-esque vibes. The guitars and gigantic melody would not sound out of place on As Daylight Dies. It’s one thing wearing your metalcore influences on your sleeve but you also have to deliver. Luckily THE FIVE HUNDRED do, the song is absolute gold. The triumphant riffs, the sheer passion, the crushing breakdown… this is a winner. Trust me, this song is one you’re going to have stuck in your head for hours.

More delicious riffs greet us at the beginning of Buried. The verse reminds me of something MATCHBOOK ROMANCE would conjure, that kind of irresistible, melodic darkness. There’s a hint of TESSERACT here and there with the ambitious moments, and you know what, Woods-Eley pulls it off. Oblivion is another stomper, the screams and lyrics are IHSAHN worthy. THE FIVE HUNDRED have always managed to create a certain mood with their music, like there is an underlying darkness present. This has always given their music an edge. Although it’s not quite as evident in Bleed Red, a starker contrast is made between the bold moments and the brooding passages.

The Noose proves to be an absolute belter. Older fans may claim the band are selling out for a quick buck but no way. THE FIVE HUNDRED is now a more focused entity who has pulled its collective strengths into a blistering release. This track actually ends up being one of the grooviest and one of the heaviest on the album. The Noose has it all.

Reclusive and Seduced by Shadows make up riff city, both accompanied by more superb vocals and memorable choruses. But it is The Narcissist which is the standout track in the second half of the album. A sombre piano plays which is soon joined by atmospheric electronics and this gothic edge remaining throughout. I was trying to avoid liking this song to MOTIONLESS IN WHITE but The Narcissist definitely has that electronic sense of doom and mystique. The metallic guitars and big chorus also adds to the dramatic tone completing this mammoth of a track.

If you are wondering what the heaviest track on Bleed Red is, then look no further than I Am The Undead. As you can probably tell by the ghoulish song title, this song is demonically heavy. Those groovy riffs never let up, ensuring your head will bang for all eternity. The sheer brutality of this track sounds like the aural equivalent of being scalped. THE FIVE HUNDRED have always had their disgustingly heavy moments but this one obliterates them all. With all darkness there comes light and I Am The Undead is contrasted by Circles, the album’s finale. A melodic and brooding track, there are some unexpected doom riffs and mesmerising melodies. They started Bleed Red with a bang and decided to close the album with a stunningly epic track. THE FIVE HUNDRED may not be boasting the most original material but their talent and drive and progress between releases is something to be desired. A band who are constantly growing and constantly improving, THE FIVE HUNDRED remain one of Britain’s brightest metal hopes. I’m already looking forward to album number two.