Label: Century Media Records Ltd.
Release Date: 29th May 2020
“Although Fracture sounds so crisp and impactful in terms of production, the songs still feel
natural. Not one aspect of the band is lost in the mix.”
Glasgow’s very own Bleed from Within continue to build on their upward momentum that was established with the band’s previous explosive release, Era (2018). This established the five-piece as one of the forerunners of the UK metal scene after over a decade-long career and triumphantly marked their return from a five-year-long touring hiatus after supporting heavyweight acts such as Megadeth and Carcass on their respective UK tours.
On Fracture, things are kicked off with a literal bang on the band's fifth studio album. The album opener and lead single ‘The End Of All We Know’ wastes no time in setting things up for what’s to come over the album's forty-two-minute run time. The track crushingly bounces along, with every guitar lick and drum hit having a piercing impact. Vocalist Scott Kennedy’s monstrous growl takes centre place on the track. It is then backed up by guitarist Steven Jones who joins in on harmony, breaking up the pace from the audio assault that has just taken place pre-chorus. The melody created in the chorus is a welcoming call-back to Era, where clean vocals were first explored, so it is pleasing to see it being further utilised here to a much greater extent.
Not being a band to fall back into tried and tested formulas, the electronic synths following on from the opener on ‘Pathfinder’ emphasise that Bleed From Within are not afraid to mix things up. Incorporating new ideas, they still keep things heavy and punchy for those long-time fans who still expect nothing less than a devastating sound.
The first half of this album is packed with many memorable moments, with a personal highlight being on the latter half of ‘Into Nothing’. The listener is blessed with Kennedy simply shouting “go”. This follows a monstrous build-up, succeeded by a whiplash-like guitar solo provided by guitarist Craig Gowans that is sure to get anybody approvingly nodding along. Things only continue to improve, with the tempo kept high thanks to the two-step beat of ‘Fall Away’. Title track ‘Fracture’ oozes with a haunting atmosphere, with prominent bass chugs provided by Davie Provan, and then finishes off with a bombastic breakdown that continues to push the bar ever upwards. ‘Night Crossing’ arguably features the best chorus on the album. Both Kennedy and Jones come together once again to produce another memorable harmony, only to be then joined by Trivium’s Matt Heafy who guests to produce a blues-like guitar solo that may catch some listeners off guard by taking them out of the experience.
That’s not to say the latter half of the album is not just as noteworthy. ‘For All To See’ and ‘Ascend’ bring the guitar work centre stage, moving from strength to strength and both tracks showcase the band as one seamless unit that works together to complement each other’s strengths. The album is then ended on a high note with the penultimate track ‘Utopia’, which remains groovy yet undoubtedly heavy all the way through and cheekily ends with a literal mic-drop. The finale of ‘A Depth That No One Dares’ initially clatters along somewhat clumsily, only to be pulled back by the blast-beats of drummer Ali Richardson and the ever-prominent growl of Kennedy, who goes onto deliver some blood-curdling highs on the outro of the track. The album both starts and ends with a punch and provides only a few moments spread throughout the runtime for the listener to catch their breath.
Although Fracture sounds so crisp and impactful in terms of production, the songs still feel natural. Not one aspect of the band is lost in the mix. If there were any doubters left after the band's previous release, Bleed From Within has undeniably quieted these voices and shown that they are quite rightly a powerhouse of the UK metal scene. The album allows the band to promote their strengths, whether it be massive vocal delivery; crushing instrumentals or even dabbling in electronics that showcase the band's experimental side. The Glaswegians have produced a modern gem of metal that will hopefully be on many end of year lists despite not having the ability to go on an album tour any time soon. Fracture will only propel the band further into new heights that their contemporaries can only dream of.
Words by John Canham.
1st June 2020.