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Album Review: BLEED FROM WITHIN Shrine

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The br00tal kid Myspace wave notwithstanding, deathcore shares with its metalcore counterpart an affinity for melo-death riffs—which might explain why Bleed From Within made the switch from the former genre to the latter so easily. The Scottish staples have retained momentum since breaking out with 2013's Uprising. Groove, melody and brutality gives Bleed From Within a lot to work with, which would explain why they can more or less stay their course on Shrine without falling into stagnation. It's solid 2000s metalcore as it has existed for the past couple decades, with solid chops to bolster some compelling symphonic twists.

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Bleed From Within understands the potential of melody in metalcore to expand their soundscape, rather than diminish its impact. As such, thundering drum hits and languid modulations ease opener "I Am Damnation" into its string-bending main riff and spacious, stripped-back verses. Even its breakdown sports some harmonic layerings. These touches make the Bleed From Within's sing-screamy choruses less samey. The following "Sovereign" achieves a similar balance of memorable leads and hooks in its onslaught of abusive two-steps and Lamb Of God-ish riffage. The band guns the throttle and pulls back on the reins while maintaining a constant sense of urgency — even the final stomping breakdown.

Even when "Levitate" finds clean vocalist Steven Jones indulging in Linkin Park-ish choruses, Bleed From Within rises to the occasion with epic melodies to match the song's devastating mosh part. The symphonic layerings tastefully service the primitive violence, as rhythmic subdivisions and pinch harmonics spice up the attack.

In contrast, the blast-beats and bombastic resonance that kick off "Flesh And Stone" flex more of Bleed From Within's versatility. In fact, that explosive section actually functions as the song's chorus! Ali Richardson's diverse drumming smoothens the transitions from thrashing chaos and rid-driven half-time, to beefy mosh riffs and sweeping crescendos. It all climaxes in what can only be described as a symphonic beatdown, as bottom-heavy guitars commingle with strings and even a distant choral arrangement.

To the credit of Bleed From Within, Shrine doesn't over-rely on huge arrangements to get its point across. Nuance remains evident on the mid-tempo barn-burner "Invisible Enemy." Its basis within stomping four-on-the-floor allows guitarists Craig Gowans and Jones to break from their technical flourishes and lock into gnarly hardcore riffage, while maintaining plenty of modulative and melodic scaffoldings amid the fray.

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"Death Defined" has a similar focus on hard-hitting catchiness, favouring time-tested New Wave of American Metal stylings mixed with the core. Vocalist Scott Kennedy ensures the music's natural execution with his range of clean and harsh vocals. He knows when to drop low for the breakdown, or support a melodious chorus, and it pays dividends on both fronts.

Even the acoustic interlude "Skye" feels like it has a place in the place in the proceedings, as it's a solid set-up for Bleed From Within returning to expansive sonics toward the end of "Stand Down." Though the bulk of the track remains rather cut-and-dry rock n roll mayhem, the band shifts into a lofty bridge loaded with triumphant leads and urgent chord progressions. These guys are fine with borrowing from multiple styles to drive their point home.

In this way, deep cuts "Shapeshifter" and "Temple Of Lunacy" suitably elevate Bleed From Within by alluding to several genres. Even if the buildups, breakdowns and choruses feel a bit played out, the former's Pantera-style nastiness and wall-of-sound double-kick attack work just as well as the latter's rapturous crescendos and electrifying riff changes. It's also fitting that the orchestral elements aren't as pronounced here, only providing an extra push for certain dynamics.

Indeed, a track like "Killing Time" doesn't need much extra to make its impact. Bleed from Within effortlessly makes great use of syncopation to make the chopped-up breakdown feel that much more intense—not to mention the way hair-raising dissonance meshes with melodious texture to drive home a austere atmosphere. Closing cut "Paradise" further clarifies these distinctions. Mournful piano chords find a scaffolding amid an overwhelming surge of cinematic heaviness, while strings stab through bassist Davie Provan and Richardson's moody groove. There's even a final foray of shreddy goodness built into the final breakdown.

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Bleed From Within showcases a willingness to do what the song needs, while still pushing themselves as songwriters. They strive to make every part of this album count, from its orchestral heights to its bestial depths. While certain numbers blend into the melodic metalcore pantheon, this does come off like a necessary statement from one of metalcore's more under-appreciated bands.

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"Shrine is the sonic embodiment of the dedication to our craft."