The pain, frustration, and despair of the preyed upon and forgotten have been fashioned into a sharpened point on Bleeding Through's landmark new album, "The Truth." Skeletons come forth from the closet, secrets are revealed, and broken promises arise from dirtied earth.
Faster yet more melodic, heavier yet more accomplished, more precise while even further off the deep-end into tragedy and loneliness, "The Truth" is a trend-proof middle finger toward the glut of over-saturation that threatens to destroy a scene this band helped to build.
Brandan Schieppati breaks open the Pandora's box of the competitive nature of growing up in Orange County, California -- where the "beautiful people" squabble for their piece of the pie -- by focusing years of rage from trying to "fit in" into a voice that speaks for the masses. Songs like "Kill To Believe" and "Hollywood Prison" are bitter anthems for the broken-hearted, painting a picture of solidarity through shared struggle and strife.
"Give up your heartache/ Build your weapon to destroy them all," Schieppati commands in "Dearly Demented (alongside haunting guest vocals from Tiger Army's Nick 13). It's a rally, a message, a point of view that encompasses the entire album: the powerless turned powerful.
It also comes at a time when the metal genre has gotten more obsessed with fashion, artistic clones, flowery wordplay (that ultimately stands for less and less) and soundalike riffs lifted from contemporary records. Bleeding Through delves further into metal's past to find it's future, refusing to sell out, refining their sound instead by streamlining everything tighter.
"This is album is more to the point, more straight forward and just faster and more pissed off," proclaims Schieppati. "At the same time the singing is better. Everything that was melodic before is even more melodic, and everything that was heavy is twice as brutal."
Nurtured on the bile of Soilent Green (singer Ben Falgoust makes a guest appearance), the aggression of Living Sacrifice, the despair of Joy Division, the heart-on-sleeve polemics of Morrissey, the urgency of hardcore like Cro-Mags and Integrity and the ferocity of black metal, Bleeding Through have created something truly unique with "The Truth."
"I don't think this album sounds like anything else out there right now," says guitarist Brian Leppke without a hint of arrogance or pretense. "We're very proud of that fact."
Leppke's playing, and that of co-founder and guitarist Scott Danough, have reached new levels, with Ryan Wombacher's bass lines stealing the spotlight at times such as the droning and Neurosis-like instrumental title track that closes the album. Marta's keyboards are cinematic, lush and more vibrant than anything on a Bleeding Through record before. And if you ask the band, they will say this is Derek Youngsma's record, his fluid and tasteful pounding propelling the band into heretofore uncharted breakneck heights of power.
"The Truth" is is fast, raw and pissed off, with the crystal clear but unhinged and slightly off-kilter production work of Rob Caggiano (Cradle Of Filth, A Life Once Lost) at last capturing the promise the band has shown since debuting with "Dust To Ashes."
"Portrait Of A Goddess," the band's followup on hardcore staple Indecision, didn't invent the hardcore-kids-playing-metal while dressed in black ideal, but it certainly took things to new levels others have cashed in upon. The difference? While others play at fashionable Halloween aesthetics, Bleeding Through's roots are in the "Man In Black" ethos of Johnny Cash, the stark realism of Henry Rollins-era Black Flag and the dark passion of Samhain.
Bleeding Through's successes have been many as well though, mostly built upon their Trustkill debut, "This Is Love, This Is Murderous." The album produced two staples on MTV2 ("On Wings Of Lead" and "Love Lost In A Hail Of Gunfire") with Spin Magazine calling them an "Artist To Watch," Revolver branding them part of "The Future Of Metal," multiple accolades from Metal Hammer and Kerrang! and the love of Alternative Press.
AFI invited Bleeding Through to open for them shortly before the album was released, which was followed by the band's own "Mutilation Tour," Ozzfest 2004, the third annual MTV2 "Headbanger's Ball: The Tour" with Cradle Of Filth, a headlining run on the 2005 "Strhess Tour," the 2005 Warped Tour, and trips to Europe, Australia and Japan.
"The Truth" is the band's defining album. Stripped to their core, laid bare, like the artwork suggests -- putting everything on the table with such naked honesty and painful catharsis their bodies threatened to fall apart from the weight of the boiling passion they've laid to record.
There are leaders and there are followers. When all of the so-called movements in underground music catching the "buzz" right now are over, expect to see Bleeding Through standing tall, with integrity, honor, and spirit intact. To the victor the spoils!
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