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A Step Backward - 55%

ArnoldHablewitz, December 21st, 2010

Originally published on The Wormwood Chronicles"

What do you get when you take tatted-up, hardcore, un-emo scenesters from Orange County and you tell them to come up with a cool mix of thrash and death metal mixed with their beloved Orange County hardcore? You get Bleeding Through…

Honestly, I knew this would happen. I loved their last disc so much, that I played it out like it was going out of style. The sound was awesome, albeit purposely raw, and the tunes were fantastic, like the ultimate version of what guys like Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold were TRYING to do and yet not doing nearly brutal enough. Simply put, Bleeding Through is what happens when you take Atreyu/Avenged Sevenfold, and cross it with Black Dahlia Murder. Very brutal, very intense, incredibly melodic and catchy, and yet also with what sounds like a cheesy horror/film noir soundtrack playing underneath in the form of Marta’s keyboards. The keyboards really do sound out of place on this release. On “This is Love, This is Murderous” they were never overdone and they were always an appropriate addition of atmosphere, but here they just cut through the mix far too much, which is especially odd when you realize that their producer here was none other than Cradle of Filth producer Rob Caggiano, who therefore should have all the prerequisite experience to properly set the levels on those damn keys.

As for singer Brandon, as much as I love the dude, here it really seems like he was trying too hard to out-do his performance on previous CDs. His screaming/growling sounds far higher-pitched, and his clean vocals sound too forced, which tends to push them out-of-tune and out-of-key from time to time. His clean tone is alright, but I think he should have tried to keep it simpler and not throw in so much bending and slurring of his notes. To be blunt, it’s unnecessary. The riffing is what you’d expect it to be, and is really what saves this disc, as it is thoroughly intense. My gripe here though, is that a lot of the riffs don’t sound nearly clean enough with the tone they have from their amps. A lot of notes get lost in the mix or are overly distorted to the point where they are not easily discerned.

I dunno, maybe I’m just burned out from their first release. I still love the band very much, but I just think that this CD has a lot lacking from its predecessor. A cleaner production (*cough* Colin Richardson *cough*) and a producer who could stand up and tell Brandon not to try so much on his vocals would have probably done wonders with this band. Better luck next time.