Bleed from Within – Shrine


Is there a more underrated metal band in Britain than Scotland’s most successful mainstream wrecking machine? Bleed from Within are on album number six and back into their two-year release cycle after 2018’s Era and 2020’s Fracture. Nuclear Blast remain on board as their prime backers, and they even took Ingested out on tour with them this year, so why do they appeal to a youthful metalcore audience when they have far more to offer?

There’s always a sense of special pleading when it comes to Bleed from Within, almost to remind people with heavier tastes to keep an open mind for these Glaswegian bruisers. It could be in vain when you hear the industrial nu metal intro of opener, ‘I Am Damnation’. You’ll fear for the next four minutes and forty-two seconds, but drummer, Ali Richardson, ensures the band remain in a crushing Machine Head stomp with his stupendous time-keeping and double-kick grooves. Those palm-muted guitars in the bridge will pop your speakers with the same ferocity as the mosh pit that’ll gather for the breakdown riff. Scott Kennedy’s muscular hardcore belting pulsates with new truths of self-discovery on this record: “Incompetent, the way I used to view myself/ But now I see the world for the way it is/ So here I stand before you all/ With a point to prove.” 2020’s Fracture held similar sentiments but pivoted towards the virtue of fortitude. This album is much darker.

The band increased their chops on the last two outings, but the standard of guitarwork here is phenomenal. Craig Gowans and Steven Jones used their furlough time to great effect over the last two years. Listen to the scale patterns in the solo to ‘Sovereign’ and marvel at the techniques. This one contains the album’s signature riff with its drop-tuned thrash groove accented by Richardson’s double-kick drum for extra power. You’ll hear Lamb of God in the DNA, but Kennedy’s vessel-bursting rage makes it a Bleed from Within song. The musicianship and audio engineering deserve the highest accolades on the metalcore-meets-Septicflesh stampede of ‘Flesh and Stone’. Steven Jones’ other band, From Sorrow to Serenity, shine through the imperious might of the seven-string hooks. Kennedy must be frothing at the mouth during this vocal performance.

As a paragon of consistency, it’s hard to level much criticism at Bleed from Within. The clean vocal melodies have never been a part of the band’s sound, but their melodic chant choruses are predictable once you hear them for a third time. Fortunately, their pre-occupation with the Egyptian-themed Phrygian scales adds a new dimension to their music and gives it a new flourish on ‘Invisible Enemy’ and ‘Death Defined’. Maybe Jinjer’s loyal audience will open their minds to Scotland’s finest if the YouTube and Spotify algorithms do their job.

Twelve songs spread over forty-seven minutes should be an easy listen, but they could have ended this record at track ten without a diminution of quality. More songs like the industrial Parkway Drive-esque beat of ‘Stand Down’ would enhance the listening experience instead of churning out the standard fare of ‘Killing Time’ or ‘Temple of Lunacy’, the latter of which contains the poignant line, “Now I am fluent in the language of the cynic.” Mental health topics that came to the fore in the last Covid lockdown find candour in most of the band’s lyrics.

It’s not ground-breaking, but Shrine is yet another consistent effort from the Glaswegian quintet. They’re too heavy to play second fiddle to Bring me the Horizon, too metalcore to support Cradle of Filth, and too metal to share a stage with the hardcore bands. Bleed from Within remain in their own niche and might not grow their audience any larger, but they deserve admiration for the way they continue to play the music they like on their own terms.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 03/06/2022

Record Label: Nuclear Blast

Standout tracks: Sovereign, Flesh and Stone, Stand Down

Suggested Further Listening: From Sorrow to Serenity – Reclaim (2019), Parkway Drive – Atlas (2012), Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds (2014)