Music trapped in a cage

When an album by a band I know little about arrives on my welcome mat, all I have to go on is the press release and the music itself. In the case of Bleeding Through, their second album 'The Truth' is built up to such an extent, I wasn't sure whether I was worthy enough to listen to it. Putting a flame to said press release I tried to listen to 'The Truth' with an objective ear, and my conclusion is that it's good in parts, but it could have been much better. I'll try to explain.

One of the main problems with Bleeding Through's new opus is the actual sound of it. Rob Caggiano's production (Cradle of Filth, A life Once Lost) is poor, which doesn't allow some of the band's heavier and more intricate riffs, to come across as well as they should. The guitar tone is dull, lacking a crisp top end and causing the chugging to become muddy and uninteresting. As a reviewer I like to give the CDs I receive numerous spins to give the artist a fair chance to win me over because we all know some albums are growers, and require a little more time to fully appreciate the music. If I'd bought the album with money from my own pocket, I would have cast it aside because as well as the dull production and mix, there is little in the way of originality. Because I like to give the albums I review a fair crack of the whip, I realised that beneath the poor recording, growling and go for the throat style of metal, beats the heart of a respectable album straining to get to the surface.

Opener 'For Love and Failing' is a blast of a song comprising of several well-worked parts. Vocalist Brandan growls with the best of them having tone in his shouting as opposed to the monotone screaming of the likes of Matt Heafy. 'Love In Slow Motion' is an excellent track and could have come straight from Bullet for my Valentine's box of songs. Disc highlight 'Dearly Demented' is littered with great ideas but I wish they'd used the riff underneath the 'Eye For An Eye' section to start off the song instead of crashing in with some growling. It's a stellar riff but it disappears underneath the constant thrashing; it's this structure idea that also spoils 'The Truth'. 'Confession' has a great idea underneath the chorus and it would have been great to kick the track off with, but this too gets lost in the metal mire and the whole song ends after two and a half minutes sounding unfinished and an wasted opportunity. Only 'Hollywood Prison' successfully adopts this idea and as a consequence sounds great because the song is allowed to build up naturally, when the keyboards arrive it sounds quite majestic in a heavy metal hammering sort of a way. Marta's keyboards add welcome depth to the sound and are perhaps a little underused over the course of the album. They are well worked into the songs but a little more of a grandiose approach, especially on 'Line In The Sand', would have gone down a treat.

I don't want to sit here and tell Bleeding Through how to write songs but throughout this album I kept hearing great ideas not being allowed to breathe. They're like peacocks kept in a cage unable to show off their splendour, ideas that are spoilt because the band would rather tear your head off with sonic aggression than letting it nod with some killer hooks. This album is a grower, and if you're a fan of all things contemporary then 'The Truth' is a good example of modern metal. For myself it was an enjoyable if frustrating experience because I know with a crisper production, and a more hook driven song structure, 'The Truth' could have been immense.