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.