Back in the early 2000’s when I was a strapping young teenager, MTV2’s resurrected Headbanger’s Ball was a relevant place to get your metal fix and hear new bands. In those days, the young kings of the hill were Killswitch Engage, Mastodon, Lamb of God, Shadow’s Fall, and Bleeding Through. Unlike the other bands I just mentioned, Bleeding Through wasn’t just metal but metalcore, a genre that I always relegated to nothing more than Emo’s angry bastard child. Bleeding Through is not only the exception to this (stupid) rule of mine but they’re one of my favorite bands.
After going on a five year hiatus, Bleeding Through is back with one of the best metal albums I’ve heard all decade. Love Will Kill All is in my opinion, the band’s best album. Every song kicks ass and is perfectly set in the track list to sculpt a greater concept of what the band was, is, and will always be. The heavy parts hit more authentically than other metalcore bands in 2018 and the melodic parts capture you with undeniable hooks.
The album’s first single “Set Me Free” is pure destruction that can get any pit moving and any crowd singing along. It features this haunting organ that makes you feel like you’re listening to Castlevania-core. Following that, “Fade Into The Ash”, their second single and my favorite song on the album, has a chorus that moves me on a level most extreme music never touches.
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The announcement of this new album immediately made me await its release. The announcement of the band’s comeback show at the Observatory made the anticipation in me burn for months. The Observatory was the perfect place to host the show as Bleeding Through have always been Orange County icons in the metalcore scene and beyond.
I arrived just as Lionheart was beginning their set. It was beautiful to see an opening band have their huge banner strewn across the wall behind them. They were straight forward, true to style, Oakland hardcore. Their singer Rob Watson held us in the palm of his hand and the rest of the band provided the soundtrack to bring the beatdown. These guys were the perfect lubricant for the violence, slamming, and headbanging to come.
Winds of Plague were next and presented a stark contrast to the other bands with a sound much more rooted in metalcore and deathcore that really brought the Hot Topic vibes to life. I’m not trying to hate, just calling it like it is. The band’s singer, Johnny Plague has absolutely ferocious growls and the guitarist is one of the most virtuosic I’ve ever seen in the realm of metalcore. Finally, their keyboardist and backing vocalist, Adrienne Cowan offers the perfect female energy with goth compliment.
I could cut the anxiety in the air with a knife and if I did the air would bleed. That was the tone of this especially rabid crowd as we awaited seeing the kings return to their throne. Bleeding Through’s keyboardist Marta Peterson came out and under a spotlight played the intro track of Love Will Kill All: “Darkness, A Feeling I Know”.
The intro dove right into “Fade Into The Ash” as the band got on stage and began murdering us with music. As soon as singer, Brandan Schiepatti, stood at the front of the stage with his arms stretched-out to soak in the crowd’s energy, I realized this was going to be a memorable show. Then when Brandan began singing the song’s chorus and I got reeled in by the hook, I sensed him channeling not just our passion after having waited five years for this performance but I felt him channeling every member of his band’s inner-fire, dying to have this moment.
Song after song, new banger to classic, the band ripped through their set with “Love Lost In A Hail Of Gunfire”, “Rise”, and “Anti-Hero”. Then for the band’s encore they hit us with the classics “March” and “Faith In Fire”, only to finish us off with “Wings of Lead” the song that always closed out Bleeding Through sets with incredible climax. The song’s hook just encapsulates everything about Bleeding Through and that desperate feeling to connect that it empowers you with.
After the show was over and all the sweaty, exhausted bodies came spilling out of the Observatory, I knew I had just witnessed the best show I’ve seen all damn year.
Words by: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Dillon Vaughn