It’s been 4 years since Glasgow’s finest Bleed From Within‘s last offering, the crowd funded EP “Death Walk”. In 2017 guitarist Steven Jones joined the ban replacing Martyn Evans and in December last year, the band announced they were recording a follow up to their 2013 album “Uprising”, their Century Media debut. The album starts with “Clarity”, a real statement piece, fusing the bands previously groove laden modern thrash tones with a tech-metal overlay that really lifts things from the outset. If ever there was a song that sets the tone for the album and shouts “we’re back from the roof tops” then this is it. “Crown Of Misery” then up pace with a pile driver of a driving riff that has Lamb of God leanings while also reminding of the likes of Midlands heroes Romeo Must Die and Stampin’ Ground. “Cast Down” has more tech-metal leanings and a real bounce element while the lyrics are a hate ridden trip against the band’s oppressors. The band are driven and clearly determined to deliver the best offering that they can and it really shows by this point. The epic leads as the song comes to a crushing closing is very reminiscent of the fine work delivered by the likes of Trivium‘s Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu. One of the album’s pre-release teases “Afterlife” pounds it’s way through to a stomp fest of a chorus with drummer Ali Richardson delivering a fine performance.
“Shiver” is a call to arms with a chorus that states “breathe in and scream these words as you shiver, rise up, we need you now” from frontman Scott Kennedy. It’s the most melodic song at this point in the album but is by no means a soft centred song in any way, shape or form. In fact, it’s a song that pulls you in for a big sing-a-long while people around you form a circle pit. “Bed Of Snakes” uses a classical metal introduction of palette cleansing guitars before leaping head-long into a driven, pacy affair. It’s a song that could easily be a set opener or with the intro, a mid set breather before the crowd goes wild. Scott Kennedy delivers a fine crushing vocal performance that lyrically is on point. There is a lot of content and its delivered in an unrelenting fashion. “I am Oblivion, Pt II” is a much more haunting piece and features the first foray into any form of clean vocals on the album. It’s eerie, dark and lifting, a play on the quiet-loud-quiet approach with a slow build that it is stunning. “Alone In The Sun” is a song about chasing the dream. Now is the time, here is the place. There is no time to wait. It’s time to fight. There is a distinct hardcore influence in the vocals and lyrics, while the addition of clean vocals during the chorus is a surprise. If the song appeared on a Bury Tomorrow album, not only would it be the heaviest thing they produced, but it would also be to critical acclaim. Another epic guitar solo closes out the song on a high. “Gatekeeper” keeps the single clean vocal lines in the chorus while delivering a real punch as Scott Kennedy states he becomes the “preacher of hate”. It’s another powerful statement piece and demonstrates how far the band have come since their last release.
“Ruina” has an old school slowed down thrash vibe to it that acts to keep things heavy but also give you moments of contemplation. “Alive” is an anti-industry piece that takes all the power and passion alongside the fury and directs it straight at the naysayers and doubters who see the bands output as a numbers game. It’s another statement of intent that makes you stand up and take note, as fans will know that music is about so much more. Metal is a way of life. It’s a groove laden thrasher of a song that has a wonderful ebb and flow to it. “State Decay” continues the vibe of “Alive” while building on it to give a thunderous and atmospheric sound. Stunning lead work and a ferocious vocal are all present and correct. If you haven’t given yourself whiplash headbanging while listening to this album by this point, you need your ears testing. Closing on a high “Drag you to the Ground” takes all that was excellent previously and summarises it in a single song. There is no break, no filler track, no “this will do” – its a reign of destruction in the form of a barrage of riffs and anthemic chorus and verse material.
In “Era”, Bleed From Within have delivered a piece of modern Metal mastery. It’s an album that should propel the band to supporting some serious players in the larger venues on the international touring circuit. There are is no style over substance, there are no gimmicks, the band take a “now or never” approach and deliver a passionate and powerful album that is so good it will keep you coming back for more. The musicianship is stunning and clearly guitarist Steven Jones’s joining the band has inspired them, alongside their circumstances, to produce their finest work to date. [9/10]