It’s pretty much been unanimously decided upon that Bleed From Within deserved better. Perhaps it can be chalked up to bad timing; Empire might have been positioned as their big breakthrough, but the 2013 metal scene was much different than today, and the sector of the market for straight-up metal bands filling a metalcore template was not only much smaller, but also exclusively occupied by While She Sleeps. But now, the balance has shifted in their favour, and five long years after their last full-length, Bleed From Within have everything to gain once again with Era.
And at this point, very few would be surprised if Bleed From Within couldn’t hold their own. Five years away is a death knell for most bands, and the heights that this band were brought up to only be sent crashing down once again would be enough to dissuade any lesse acts from even trying. But with Era, it’s indicative of a band who’ve had their finger on the pulse of modern metal even during their inactivity, and it’s made for the most concise and thrilling modern metal album imaginable. Their influences are prominent, but when they’re pushed to their optimal power, rippling with both towering melody and crushing, metallic mass, it’s hard to complain, especially when Era might be one of the best metal albums of 2018 so far.
They may be bold claims, but when Era draws heavily from contemporary metal’s cream of the crop, they’re totally justified. This is metal in the vein of While She Sleeps and Parkway Drive, as enormous as it gets without detracting from the walls of roaring, precise riffs. The razor-sharp fretboard dashes of Clarity certainly herald such proficiency, and Scott Kennedy’s Winston McCall impression carries the portentous heft that gives this brand of modern metal such an edge. Even if Bleed From Within can’t quite pack the same heat that either of the aforementioned bands accomplished on their breakthroughs, they come damn close, like the head-crushing grooves and overt melodic bent of Shiver, or the creeping, hissing darkness of I Am Oblivion, Pt. II. Even more impressive is how few concessions are made here, refusing to cut down their muscle to appeal to any certain demographic. This isn’t the watered-down modern metal paraded by so many sub-par metalcore bands; rather, Bleed From Within pull from a rich core of 2000s groove-metal and melo-death, and especially with Ali Richardson’s stupendously ferocious drumwork on Crown Of Misery and Bed Of Snakes, this could go toe to toe with any of the modern greats in terms of technicality and firepower.
Even if Era isn’t as earth-shattering as the albums it clearly has in its peripheral vision, that doesn’t really really feel like the objective. Rather, this is Bleed From Within reaffirming their status as a true force in the modern metal landscape, and there’s not a shadow of a doubt that Era achieves that. It’s a near-perfect balance of melody that’s totally accessible and easy to pick up, and the crushing, streamlined modern metal that uses its relative simplicity and condensed form to a huge advantage. Perhaps now Bleed From Within can finally be elevated to a status where they can join the likes of While She Sleeps atop their pedestal; they’re more than ready for it.
For fans of: While She Sleeps, Parkway Drive, Lamb Of God
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Era’ by Bleed From Within is released on 6th April on Century Media Records.