It seems it’s time for the return of the metalcore that most of us sang along to in the mid-2000’s. While I don’t see AS I LAY DYING moving past the attempted spousal murder plot, and certain bands have remained intact (cue up AUGUST BURNS RED and EVERY TIME I DIE), there are a slew of groups that laid down their drop-tuned guitars and took up regular gigs. One of the larger names among that slew is BLEEDING THROUGH, who decided to call it a career after their 2012 release and its subsequent touring cycle. Though I have missed their mixture of hardcore, thrash and goth, I agree that a break was likely the best of scenarios. UNEARTH did not follow that advice, and I can’t even imagine who has bought their records since.
The return of the So-Cal sextet brings up numerous memories. In 2006, I took a roundhouse kick to the temple during their set at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. After the show, I waited outside like a stalker and met most of the group, which afforded me a hug from Marta, their long-time keyboardist. I’ve only showered a handful of times since. Creepy? You bet. And obviously the shower part is a joke, so stop cringing. But it does help facilitate how large an influence this group was in my early 20’s and illustrates how great it was to hear Love Will Kill All before its May 25 release through SharpTone Records.
Preceding the new disc, the group released a teaser video for “Set Me Free”, an abrasive and bruising white knuckler that sounds fitting as the backing track to an MMA montage. It teased at the possibility of the band returning with the intent of showcasing more of their aggressive, hardcore-based sound. However, for those familiar with their past work, the albums were always well balanced between the harsher sounds and those that swooned more towards the melodic. Essentially, for every song that had a sing-a-long chorus, there was assuredly a follow up track that never took the foot off the gas pedal.
For those wondering how the new record compares, I’ll tell you: the scales are tipped slightly more to the melodic side. That’s not to say that Love Will Kill All doesn’t bring the brutal. Almost every track on this beast has enough piss and vinegar to put a grimace on your face. While the record starts off with the clean vocals of “Darkness a Feeling I Know”, songs like “Cold World”, “Buried”, and “No One From Nowhere” keep things mosh-worthy throughout. The latter two even offer fist pumping scream-a-long anthems in their chorus sections. However, the improved clean vocals were the highlight that caught me by surprise. Rich harmonies fall lush upon the ears in songs like “Fade Into the Ash”, “End Us”, “Dead Eyes” and “Life”.
The return of BLEEDING THROUGH is welcomed. I missed their energetic blend of metallic resources and those insane blast beats from Derek Youngsma. The mix on his drums is always ridiculous. Love Will Kill All is as solid a record as the group has ever put forth and shows improvements in production, song structure and vocal prowess. In fact, the only questionable moment on the disc is “No Friends”, which sounds more like when WINDS OF PLAGUE tries to be a hardcore band. However, it still manages to deliver a catchy hook and some head-bobbing riffs. If you’re a longtime fan, then you already know you need this record. If you’re not familiar with the group, get your shit together and let this be your introduction. Thank me later.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Fade Into the Ash”, End Us”, “Life”, “Set Me Free”, “Buried”, “No One From Nowhere”