Returning after a five year absence with 2018’s “Era“, Glaswegian Groove Metal quintet Bleed From Within incorporated some DJent and Technical elements into their rejuvenated sound and delivered something both jaw dropping and phenomenal. We didn’t expect them to become the touring force that they were over the touring cycle but none the less they clocked up shows all over Europe including some major festivals, sharing stages with the likes of Lamb Of God, Of Mice And Men, As I Lay Dying, Cancer Bats, and Any Given Day. This time around vocalist Scott Kennedy, drummer Ali Richardson, bassist Davie Provan and guitarist duo Craig ‘Goonzi’ Gowans and Steven Jones don’t have the element of surprise but they do have a new sense of purpose as this comment from the band in the press release reads: “The doubt and fear that consumed us for years have been replaced with an insatiable hunger to grow as people. We’ve noticed this shift in energy and channeled it into our music. As a result, our new album is the strongest and most uplifting we have ever written.”
That hunger is apparent from the very start of “The End Of All We Know” which is front loaded with urgent riffs and pummeling grooves. Little snippets of lead permeate the mix as do short bursts of clean vocals from guitarist Steven Jones in the chorus but the band use that sparingly to add moments of melody into an otherwise brute of a track. That balance plays to Kennedy’s strengths, with a 90 percent unclean vocal delivering the power to support those guitars. “Patherfinder” is equally urgent with some distinctly Lamb Of God influenced moments, particularly in Ali Richardson’s drum patterns. Having also heard his work on the last Sylosis record, his performances get stronger and stronger and are a pleasure to listen to. A downtempo shift in this one for a drawn out breakdown is a lightning bolt in a thunderstorm while little bits of programming add an extra dimension. The marching groove of “Into Nothing” makes for the third back to back headbanger of a track, while the lyrical theme and chorus bridge are reminiscent of “Blood Of My Enemy” by Winds Of Plague, a story of survival against personal struggles in the metaphor of a mythical war, to the victor the spoils as enemies are sent to their graves.
Drop laden, “Fall Away” has a blistering solo including a classic whammy bar moment over some breakneck drumming. A classic Modern Metalcore track moving into Thrash territory with plays on tempo and pause break riffs, the use of momentary silences is what makes it and the closing riff is straight from the Pantera playbook. After four heavy hitting tracks, it’s time for the album title track “Fracture” to offer something different. Not that Bleed From Within stray too far from the path, instead they create a track with a tense atmosphere to accompany the theme of anxiety and depression in the lyrics with an introspective quality. Kennedy mixes up the vocals with harsh whispers, throat shredding roars and some more cleans from Jones in the pool and the result is something rooted in Nu-Metal but with a punch and swagger. Bringing in Matt Heafy of Trivium for a guest solo on “Night Crossing” is an interesting move for a track that is riff wise very Trivium esq and Gowans and Jones set the stage for him to add the finishing touch to a track that was highly impressive without that addition. “For All To See” continues the flow and build with similar stylings into a third track with a solid bounce for the mosh pit and sing-a-long ability and a closing rise into “Ascend“.
Screaming out the gate and offering up a bit more of Steven Jones clean vocals, “Ascend” is pure Groove Metal with nuances that will keep you coming back to the record over and over again. There are tempo shifts a plenty which are subtle and well worked, gloriously bright pieces of lead work and all delivered with a satisfying crunch. Buried orchestration behind the clean vocal parts you may not even notice on the first few spins because you’ll be too busy headbanging. For the first time in the band’s history, the membership of the previous album “Era” is represented on the follow-up “Fracture” and it shows, particularly in “Utopia“, which is full of bounce and has a brilliant Thrash solo. “A Depth That No One Dares” builds into Melodic Death Metal with the roar of “set me free” at its heart, a defiant clenched fist at the dark thoughts that can hold one back, lit up by blast beats and shrill screams. The musicianship is inspired, the band sound refreshed and this is a beast of a record [8.5/10]
1. The End Of All We Know
3. Into Nothing
4. Fall Away
6. Night Crossing (ft. Matt Heafy of Trivium)
7. For All To See
10. A Depth That No One Dares
“Fracture” by Bleed From Within is out 29th May via Century Media