When you consider the fact that it’s been more than a decade since Tool released a new album, 5 years seems like childs’ play. However, in the five years since Bleed From Within last graced us with their death metal sloggings, heavy music is in a much different place. Bands have forced themselves through the surface, pummelled their way into the limelight, and the scene of metal in general seems to be going through the middle of a creative re-incarnation. Code Orange, Conjurer, Get The Shot, Power Trip, Venom Prison – the list goes on and on for up and coming exciting heavy bands.
It’s fair to say then that there would be reason for doubt as to where Bleed From Within would fit into the heavy metal front-line in 2018, with competition being so fierce. However every question mark, doubt, and concern you could have possibly had about the quality of the Glaswegians new record Era become quickly washed away within the opening 30 seconds of ‘Clarity’ – subtle guitar strokes soon give way to a sea of pulsing riffs and screams, welcome back lads.
‘Crown Of Misery’ follows suit too, with a bare knuckle, bruiser of a verse that gives way into the kind of fuelled, melodic chorus that you can sense Bleed From Within may well become the masters of sooner rather than later; a clear hook is present without a drop in intensity, it’s death metal with a new lease on life.
With Steven Jones only coming on board with the band last year and climbing into guitar duty, you’d understand if Era sounded loose around the edges in terms of being a showcase of death metal, this is far from the case here though. ‘Afterlife’, ‘Alone In The Sun’ and ‘Alive’ all snarl and spit their frantic riffs out relentlessly – elements of thrash, groove, and black metal throw their way to prominence; there’s more than enough intricacies to keep the purists happy here.
Speed bumps on the record come in the form of ‘Shiver’ and ‘I Am Oblivion Pt. II’ which don’t quite manage to live up to the dripping intensity that surrounds them. It does beg the idea that had Era been these two songs shorter, we could very well have been looking at one of the best death metal releases in quite some time, but even with their inclusion; Era is a breathless steam train of emphatic riffs and growls.
Perhaps the greatest compliment you could pay to this record is that the story behind it is particularly interesting, but completely irrelevant as soon as the first note is played. Bleed From Within have been in the dark for the better part of 5 years at this point, but have burst back through the gate here with the exact kind of record that they needed to come out with, if it was in fact sink or swim for the band here – they have most definitely dove their way back into death metal supremacy. Era is yet another record that adds fuel to the fire of metal being in the best position (creatively) that is has been in over a decade.