Bleed From Within – ‘Uprising’ Album Review

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Hailing from Glasgow and having been active since 2005, Bleed From Within have built a respectable reputation and following as a result of their two well-received full length outings, ‘Humanity’ and ‘Empire’, not to mention brutal live work and a slew of EPs. ‘Uprising’ is the band’s third full-length outing and, like its predecessors, it eschews subtlety in favour of an expansive production sound and riffs hewn from solid rock. Changes on this release are few and far between, the band still trading in a feral death metal sound, although Scott Kenedy’s vocals seem to have gained a raw, hardcore-tinged edge that adds to the music’s abrasive nature, whilst the melodic elements seem to have been simultaneously dialled down, making ‘uprising’ a satisfyingly heavy release.

Opening to a suitably epic-sounding introduction with ‘III’ the band truly swing into action on the churning groove of ‘colony’, a song that does much credit to the powerful percussive assault of Ali Richardson. It’s clear from the off that the band are fired by their own material and the result is that the album carries a powerful rush from the off. It’s not exactly a novel approach to the genre, but Bleed from Within know their audience and deliver a slick and powerful performance that will undoubtedly aid their upward momentum no end and you can imagine the line “put your fists in the air if we’re on the same page” will cause whole venues of sweaty urchins to flock to the band’s irresistible cry. ‘It lives in me’ has a brilliant driving riff, guaranteed to bang heads up and down the country, whilst the contrast between brutal chunky riffing and almost serene lead lines works very much in the band’s favour, adding depth to the composition  and doing much to demonstrate the fervour the band generate in their fans. ‘Nothing no-one’ segues nicely out of its predecessor with a rippling guitar line that introduces a subtle hint of melody into an otherwise crushing experience, the riffs set to detonate on impact, the vocals perpetually maxed out, giving the band a much more obvious hardcore edge than on previous outings, a welcome toughening of the band’s approach that sees them sounding ever more threatening.

‘Escape yourself’ starts in a similar vein but is elevated thanks to some brilliant soloing that showcases the talent on offer within the ranks of Bleed From Within, not to mention a brutal finale that highlights the notion that the song will be a mosh-pit favourite. ‘Strive’ opens with a muted riff that springs into life with all the intensity of a magnesium flare, with the track proving to be a particularly addictive song with a hefty groove that’s all its own. ‘I am oblivion’, in contrast, opens on a contemplative note before developing into a slower, more sludgy song than we’re used to from BFW. It’s a welcome contrast and while it is still heavier than an obese elephant given free food in a McDonalds, it is a welcome change from the dizzying speed of other tracks here, the band taking on a Lamb of God feel that is as devastating as you might expect from such a comparison. ‘Speechless’ is a moment of sublime beauty that rapidly disintegrates in the face of ‘Our divide’, which sees the band resume their cuttingly fast modus operandi, tearing holes in the listener’s psyche in the process. Remarkably the band still find it in themselves to up the tempo for the bruising ‘Uprising’, a familiar motif in metal that still sounds like an army marching toward the listener. ‘The war around’ is no less intense, the band flaming white hot as the riffs pile up and the screams become ever more intense, whilst the chorus may be one of the most memorable on the disc, the guitars carrying the venue even as the venomous screams continue. ‘Leech’  is similarly themed but suffers in comparison to its forbear and you start to wish for more variation in the band’s overall sound with only ‘I am oblivion’ and the hauntingly brief ‘speechless’ offering any real deviation from the band’s template, although a well phrased solo does remedy the situation somewhat. ‘Devotion’ closes the album well with more of the band’s trademark rippling guitar floating across a metallic surface that is otherwise impenetrable, the band’s furious assault proving to be densely woven.

Bleed from within are a powerful experience, there is no question there, but one problem that raises its head is that without a greater degree of variety the ferocity undoubtedly loses its impact. Part of the problem lies in the vocals which, whilst initially exciting, all too frequently becomes a monotone roar thanks to the unvarying approach. This coupled with the fact that the songs on the second half of the album are very much cut form the same cloth means that it’s hard to maintain the level of excitement that greets the opening numbers. This is not to say that ‘uprising’ is a bad album rather that it would benefit either from being somewhat shorter, or from a more dynamic approach. As it is, ‘Uprising’ has many fine songs to offer but as an album it is less strong than it could have been. Fans of metalcore will undoubtedly love the record, and there is no doubt that there is material here that marks Bleed From Within out as one of the better bands currently kicking out this sort of crushing metal and the live show will undoubtedly be a blast, but there is also the feeling that metalcore’s detractors will find ammunition in the bands unwavering approach, which is a shame because so often Bleed From Within demonstrate the ability to develop an album that is truly staggering. Heavy, certainly full of gems that will get the mosh pit going, this is a competent album from a band who have the potential to offer more.

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