The Great Fire

by: Bleeding Through

Orange County metalcore outfit Bleeding Through's seventh studio album wastes little time in pulling the meat off of the bone. Opening with the instrumental cut "The March," which apes the intro to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and then filters it through a spinning chainsaw blade, the 14 tracks on The Great Fire are predictably punishing yet expertly crafted. Brutal and efficient (the average song length clocks in at just under three minutes), the band can toss off savage breakdowns, dual guitar leads, and stadium-sized group vocals with the best of them, and on stand-out cuts like "Final Hours" and "Walking Dead," they sound like true pack leaders as opposed to hungry followers. The keyboard parts are handled with great confidence, maybe a tad too much, as they have a tendency to ride a little high in the mix. That said, they do add a distinct Norwegian metal patina to the whole affair, resulting in a listening experience that can feel a little like cueing up tracks from At the Gates, Black Flag, and Dimmu Borgir, and then pressing play on all three, which is not necessarily a bad thing. ~ James Christopher Monger

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