It has been 5 years since Bleed From Within’s last full length release, 2013’s Uprising, but the Scottish metal quintet have returned with 5th album Era. Opening track Clarity sets out the stall early, providing a template of what is to come: fast punching riffs, pummeling drums and choruses that are desperate to be roared back from the pit. That is probably this album’s strongest point, whether its You can’t be forced to live alone on Clarity, It’s a revolution! on Afterlife or Do you believe in these words that you preach? on Alone In The Sun, this album is full of absolutely huge choruses that are tailor made for the live environment.
But don’t be fooled into thinking Bleed From Within have mellowed out or are any less brutal than before; wrapped around these anthemic moments are anvil heavy breakdowns, and Scott Kennedy’s guttural vocals still sound wonderfully brutal, mastering the art of screaming hooks in the same way as someone like Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God. In addition to the excellent vocal delivery, the guitar work of Craig Gowans and Steven Jones is exemplary, and nowhere better than on Bed Of Snakes, where the atmospheric guitar lines provide the perfect back drop to Kennedy’s growls. The production values of this release should also be praised, as everything has a clarity (pardon the pun) to it whilst not sounding overly polished and still maintaining it’s heaviness.
However, it should be mentioned that, although the songs here are excellent, there is a feeling that Bleed From Within are walking a well trodden path. With releases like You Are We from While She Sleeps and All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us from Architects both really pushing the boundaries of what modern metalcore is in recent years, there doesn’t feel like much new ground is broken over the course of this album. It also feels a little one paced and could perhaps benefit from acknowledging more of what Jimmy Page once termed the “light and the shade” of music. Despite these criticisms though, this album still has much to offer and should still excite all those who have been fans in the past.