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Album Review: Bleeding Through’s Love Will Kill All

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Full disclosure: This critic is not the target audience for Love Will Kill All, Bleeding Through’s reunion album. I lived through Bleeding Through’s heyday and I was really never much of a fan. Sure, frontman Brandan Schieppati goes so far back with the scene that no one can ever deny him his cred. But whereas some NWOAHM bands’ level of success plateaued or diminished for somewhat amorphous reasons, I’d argue that BT got exactly as far as they deserved to based on the quality of their output. The band simply did not write a whole lot of great songs. Or maybe I just didn’t like them because they don’t have beards and don’t sound like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, or Cynic, but they do have short hair and breakdowns. Regardless, I have no idea how longtime Bleeding Through fans will react to Love Will Kill All. Maybe the fact that I don’t like it means they’ll love it.

Oh yeah. Spoiler alert: I don’t like Love Will Kill All.

You know you’re listening to one of the flat-out silliest releases of the year when the second you hit play the first thing you hear are funereal organs and Schieppati droning a seventh grader’s heartsick poetry:

This life
It will destroy you heart
Life
Will only rip us apart
And we reach inside my flesh to show you my pain
The hurt and the ugliness remains the same

The only logical reaction to hearing this goth fortune cookie wisdom delivered with such po-facedness is laughter. Schieppati is pushing forty — is this really still all he has on his mind?

In its defense, Love Will Kill All doesn’t make the mistake of allowing Schieppati’s lyrics to be so easily discernible again. Not so much in its defense, that’s because he’s screaming over a whole lot of generic-sounding metalcore. Worse still — if true to form for this band — very little of it is infectious. It’s also pretty hard to tell one track apart from another. If you told me the band wrote three riffs and then just kept re-arranging them slightly throughout the record, I’d believe you.

Meanwhile, although Schieppati’s resistance of auto-tune abuse is admirable, his clean vocals are less-than-kind on the ears. And Marta Peterson’s keyboards ain’t doing the album any favors; a perfectly brutal track like “No One from Nowhere” will suddenly be disrupted by an old Dimmu Borgir demo. It’s 2018 — how is it possible that synths could still sound this weightless? They somehow actually make the band sound smaller, which makes no goddamn sense whatsoever. Not for nothing, the album’s best — and heaviest — song, “Slave,” is the one on which her presence is felt the least (on the other hand, her vocals are a heckuva lot more pleasing than those of Schieppati).

“Slaves” is also one of the only songs on the album that has an anthemic, instantly memorable chorus. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I kinda think Bleeding Through would be best best served by embracing their inner Ed Hardy shopper. There’s a song around the halfway point of Love Will Kill All called “No Friends” (I mean…) which is about a half-step shy of being a Five Finger Death Punch track. I’m almost positive I’ve heard the same riff in ten or twelve other songs, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me tap my foot. That’s really the most important goal for Bleeding Through to achieve, and the one thing they do far too rarely.

Bleeding Through’s  Love Will Kill All comes out May 25 on Sharptone. You can listen to the track “Fade Into the Ash” here and pre-order the album here.

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