Bleed On My Own
These knuckleheads that come in, check the scores and then vamoose are gonna get the wrong idea here. The “3" that sits rather unpleasantly in the songwriting box isn’t unwarranted, but at the same time doesn’t truly represent the current quality and future prospects for Wigan’s Element. Bleed On My Own is a hefty demo, clocking in at nearly forty-five minutes. But it’s a Frankenstein (“It’s Dr. Frankensteen”) of an album, piling together the previously recorded Just Desires demo, an instrumental outro recorded at the end of 2006, and, most importantly, two new tracks. Element recently went through some membership changes, and founder, songwriter and rhythm guitarist Adam Calderbank was joined by drummer Rob Urquhart and lead guitarist Andy Higham. Element’s earlier material was written by Calderbank, but new tracks “Downfall” and “Bleed On My Own” are band efforts, and something–new chemistry, team effort writing, or simply practice, has helped Element take a nice step forward. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend seeking out Bleed On My Own, the band seems capable of putting together a new offering full of new tracks that could be worth your attention.
And they should strike while the iron is hot. Element’s brand of ‘80s leaning classic thrash is attracting the attention of the labels and cash of the buying public (funny how those things seem to always seem to go together), as fellow UK thrashers Evile can attest. Evile started playing Metallica covers and as they began to write their own songs evolved into a broader spectrum of vintage influences, and the young Element has started much the same way. Their sound is so predominantly influenced by Master of Puppets and ...And Justice For All era of Metallica that it grabs your attention quickly but then suffers in comparison. But the two new tracks show some growth. “Downfall” is a rip-roaring crunch fest in the spirit of “Battery,” while the nearly ten-minute “Bleed on My Own” injects stretches of the swaggering groove of Cowboys From Hell. The Hetfield-ish vocals are pretty standard fare – usually doing the job but sometimes struggling with more melodic (and sometimes questionable) passages. The production is fairly bare bones here, which often exacerbates the issue. Overall, these two tracks show promise and are solid, but highly derivative thrash.
The earlier material that rounds out the disc is much less consistent and never reaches the same benchmark as the new songs. “Just Desires” is a mostly mellow song that is best summed up as Load influenced. Enough said. “Forged Existence” is a dynamic track that, despite the over presence of vocals in the mix, is the highlight of the Just Desires demo, while “Inner Strength” is vanilla thrash that just never seems to go anywhere. Two of the more intriguing moments on Just Desires are the lengthy outro, “Untold,” and “Attire of the God”. The former is a bluesy, almost Downish acoustic number, while the latter uses riffs and melodies that are thrashy but (in places) less obviously Metallica influenced. As stated, this material doesn’t fare as well, but is more varied, perhaps only because the two new songs offered don’t fully capture Element’s current full range. In the end, Bleed On My Own is a tough sell, but the band is moving in the right direction, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they hammer out a worthwhile full debut in the next year or so. The materials are there; with a bit more time, individuality, and a little more studio polish, Element could do some damage.