Ah, Bleed From Within – British metal’s perennial underachievers who couldn’t be less at fault if they tried for that fact. It’s still a mystery why they haven’t caught on like they should, especially when they aren’t that far removed from bands like Trivium and Lamb Of God who consistently see enormous levels of success. It makes it all the more disappointing when Bleed From Within have been consistently good to great across their entire career, especially on 2018’s vastly underrated Era, and yet that hasn’t translated to adoration beyond those in the know when it really should be more widespread. It’s to their entire credit that they keep ploughing through the odds and delivering new music, but from an outside perspective at least, they’re victories that continue to seem hollow when they aren’t being embraced by a much greater audience. At least Fracture seems to be pulling out the stops at a bit of a faster rate with its much-publicised guest spot from Trivium’s Matt Heafy, something that could potentially see Bleed From Within’s waves get a bit bigger, especially if that could court the Trivium fanbase who’d be able to make the most seamless transition imaginable between the two bands. Add to that the raw skill that’s enough to keep the curious hooked, and things could seriously be looking up for Bleed For Within if they’re able to make the right moves.
On Fracture then, that reliability and recognisability of their ideals has been pushed to the fore in what largely feels like a compilation of everything that continues to work in modern metal. Bleed From Within have size, ferocity and technicality all under their belt, all collated in an album that could do with something of its own to really go over the top, but is ultimately to sort of genre cross-section that nails down how well this band know their stuff. Compared to Era, that also means a bit of the spark is dimmed here, but there’s still more than enough for Fracture to stand up on its own, if only for Bleed From Within to fully establish how ready they are to make the leap up to metal’s upper tiers.
It’s almost exclusively down to how well they can pull this sort of thing off too, because in no way is Fracture reinventing the wheel when it comes to modern metal. That’s especially true of the writing, the one area where it can be convincingly argued that Bleed From Within are at their weakest, given that they don’t tend to rise above themes of corruption, destruction and the usual fare about the modern turbulent world. It welcomes the While She Sleeps comparisons rather openly, but it’s something that Bleed From Within can slide into almost as well, particularly with Scott Kennedy’s vocals that have the right amount of savagery to sound righteous within that mould. And when they do lean on more explicitly soaring moments with The End Of All We Know and Ascend, it’s about as close to genuine crossover appeal as Bleed From Within get, especially when there’s enough metalcore in the Killswitch Engage vein present in their sound to get them there.
Really though, Bleed From Within’s greatest strengths come from how well they can leverage the number of modern metal templates they’ve come to co-opt, and while there isn’t an outright standout on this album (though the creeping opening of the title track is reminiscent of Slipknot in a way that’d be great to see more of), they’re consistently strong in what they deliver. There’s not a great deal to elaborate on, especially when the Trivium or Lamb Of God set for whom this will have the greatest impact on will already know what to expect, but for a metal album that rarely falters and almost always packs in enough thrills to keep itself afloat, Fracture does the job exceptionally well. Guitars know the right times to both soar and come crushing down; there’s enough potency to the drums to keep everything moving along at a great pace, particularly when they pick up for what’s closing on blast beats on the closer A Depth That No One Dares; and the whole thing carries itself with the might that distances it from any negative ‘-core’ connotations that may be imposed upon it. Again, even if there’s nothing wholly innovative here, Bleed From Within know what they’re doing when it comes to tapping into metal’s core strengths, and Fracture is a great example of how that can work for them.
Honestly, despite it not being their best work, Fracture feels like the purest showcase of what Bleed From Within are about with the highest likelihood of giving them the push they need. It’s hard to see how this wouldn’t appeal to any number of metal fans who mightn’t be acquainted with this band yet, but bringing forward what effectively feels like a best-of collection of modern metal’s features is a workable way of getting to that point. Even if this doesn’t have the most immediate longevity of Bleed From Within’s catalogue, it’s about as good as a jumping-off point is likely to get, and to see the wheels in motion for the adoration that this band should’ve picked up years ago, that’s not exactly objectionable by any means.
For fans of: Trivium, While She Sleeps, Lamb Of God
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Fracture’ by Bleed From Within is released on 29th May on Century Media Records.