Release DetailsLABEL Trustkill
RELEASED ON 9/23/2003
This is Love, This is Murderous
posted on 10/2003 By:
I'd have to say this was right up there with From Autumn to Ashes, Avenged Sevenfold, and Shai Hulud for the most anticipated hardcore/metalcore releases of the year. However, after many listens to all of them, it appears only Shai Hulud is the album that fully filled my expectations. Much like Avenged Sevenfold's Waking the Fallen, Bleeding Through's sophomore album (and first on Trustkill) sees them pretty much following expected paths with well executed, well written, but ultimately familiar material. For those new to Bleeding Through, their sound is a mix of typical metalcore and pure death metal, but the "gimmick" for this band, much like Underoath, is the extensive use of keyboards. New female keyboardist Marta adds an almost black metal epic flair to pretty much all the songs. The way I've always viewed bands that use keyboards is by judging how they would sound without the synths. How does the music alone stand up? Would it be as impactful without the synths to add mood and atmosphere? And, unfortunately, if you removed Bleeding Through's keyboards, they wouldn't be overwhelmingly special. They would be a good, competent, and most of the time, above average; but without the synths they wouldn't garner nearly as much attention. With this second album, the hardcore machismo that drenched Portrait of the Goddess has been lessened in favor of the suddenly popular At The Gates worship. The songs seem to have a more consistent Swedish gait, and despite the presence of many a breakdown, they seem to by slightly less forceful than the utterly devastating Portrait. There's no "Wake of Orion" on this album. Maybe the lineup changes (vocalist Brandon and guitarist Brian are the only remaining members from Portrait) are a reflection of the core’s desired direction. That's not to say this is an album for the weak of heart; it’s still a harsh lesson in personal relationships steeped in hardcore's self pity and loathing, but the tempo and mood has shifted from massively crushing to more soberingly melodic and controlled. One only need look at album opener "Love Lost in a Hail of Gunfire" to witness the speedier, Gothenburg heavy sound. There just seems to be quite a bit of filler amid the generally entertaining longer tunes. The sub 2 minute "Sweet Vampirous", the almost as short "Shadow Walker", "City of the Condemned", and "Dead Like Me", while fervent bursts of the core laced metal (with synths), just seem hurried and lacking the depth of the album's more fulfilling tracks. Maybe its because the longer songs have time to inject some of their trademark breakdowns without being rushed to squeeze something familiar in. "Number Seven with a Bullet", demonstrates BT at their most potent, seamlessly mixing a haunting blackened synth work, irate hardcore, and loping death metal into one solid fully developed track. The same can be said for "On Wings of Lead", as it sounds more complete and fleshed out over its five minute romp, and although it’s heavy on the clean vocals, the overall mood is well manifested. For whatever reason, though, I don't feel my self swayed into multiple listens or rewinds like I felt with Portrait. Despite the lumbering start of the title track, I wasn't inclined to listen to it again like I was with say, "Saint, Salvation, Sinner". I think the large band turnover may be experiencing growing pains and Brandon and Brian try to grow into their reputation with 3 new members, and it shows. Even the goose-bump inducing sample that starts "Revenge I Seek" (despite the exact same sample being used on Hamartia's "In the Arms of…") and its subsequent lurching barrage eventually tails into more Gothenburg paced galloping that just seemed a little bit flat compared to prior material. Even its finale breakdown is just 'meh'. The Ulrich Wild production is perfect and suitably mixes hardcore bottom end crunch with NWSDM clarity, but the synth sound is somewhat unattached. Like From Autumn to Ashes and Avenged Sevenfold, Bleeding Through appears to be a victim of their own debut brilliance, and experiencing the dreaded sophomore slump. This is Love . . ., while a little disappointing for me personally, is a good album and still better than a majority of the by-the-numbers metalcore out there, but they need to determine the direction of their sound with a little more force and less tentative fence sitting. Me? I prefer the ferocious, breakdown heavy pummeling of their prior album than the somewhat forced nature of the peppy Gothenburg influence. But that's just me, and fans should check out This is Love . . . , for themselves and decide.
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