REVIEW: Bleed from Within – Shrine [2022]

When someone says “shrine,” the first thing that comes to mind—or at least my mind—is a deity. Specifically, an eternal, unending homage to a given deity. When you think about it, this really applies in a variety of ways to renowned metalcore act Bleed from Within. Maybe we consider metal to be the deity in question, and Bleed from Within are the shrine, an impeccable dedication to all things truly metal. Maybe we look at it another way; maybe Bleed from Within are metalcore deities, and their latest full length record—aptly titled Shrine—is just that, an archetypal release and homage to their remarkable influence on the genre. Laden with monstrous riffs, skull-cracking breakdowns and colossal, catchy choruses, Shrine sees Bleed from Within at their best. So, regardless of how you wish to apply the album’s namesake, Shrine is a magnificent testament to no-holds-barred metalcore, serving as an outstanding reminder of how Bleed from Within became a staple in contemporary heavy music.

Over the last several years, there is an increasing push within just about every subgenre of heavy music to reach new extremes—whether it be of brutality, technicality or atmosphere. Instead, Bleed from Within opt to stick close to metalcore’s roots, expertly blending elements of both melodic and technical metallic styles with gutbusting hardcore. The successor to critically acclaimed 2020 release Fracture, Shrine is an immense release that, to the tee, captures the essence of all things metalcore. Songs like “Levitate” highlight this brilliantly, with ferocious percussion that guides the songs through ruthless breakdowns and riveting, soaring choruses both. Other songs like “Death Defined” see the percussion stepped up, ripping the listener to shreds with lightning-like fills and fleet footwork. Here, everything about Bleed from Within is likened to a well-oiled machine whether it be the precise percussion or eviscerating fretwork that effortlessly weaves from lacerating leads and hefty riffs to horrendously heavy breakdowns. In keeping with other metalcore masters like August Burns Red or Killswitch Engage, the band are experts at blending elements of melodic metal into a murky and aggressive melting pot—this can be heard in spades on “Paradise,” as well as the barn-burning “Temple of Lunacy.” As the listener ventures through Shrine, Bleed from Within adhere to this oscillating, ebb-and-flow dynamic, with songs that feel more metallic and songs that draw more from a blend of hardcore and technical metal, ensuring that while Bleed from Within definitely have a style, they have an entire spectrum within that style that they remain proficient in.

Just as Bleed from Within are instrumentally varied, so are they vocally. Home a predominant raw and booming mid-range roar, Shrine sees an immense amount of vocal variety to capitalize on its instrumental dynamism. “Paradise” establishes a beautiful dialectic between savage screaming and a serenely sung chorus, while “Levitate” appeals to fans of vaguely Architects-esque pitched screaming while blending in a vicious low-end of low growls. Throughout the entirety of Shrine, Bleed from Within are careful to maintain vocal diversity without adhering to a predictable formula, only occasionally leaning on the scream-sing-scream verse-chorus-verse structure that has earned its place in metalcore’s armamentarium. Bleed from Within’s efficiency at finding ways to deviate and build on staples of their genre is, in many ways, what has made the band itself a staple of that genre, always being able to innovate without losing touch of metal’s (and more precisely, metalcore’s) key elements.

While Shrine doesn’t reinvent the genre, it does reinvigorate it. Those looking for something more with their -core might be better trying elsewhere, but those who thirst for nothing more than balanced, riff-heavy and catchier than COVID metal need look no more. Bleed from Within are about as close as one reasonably gets to being a household name while championing a relatively niche genre, and they do it brilliantly. Every riff is carefully crafted, every breakdown brutalizing and every syllable screamed with boundless passion, making Shrine a truly tremendous offering from a band with a lofty reputation and even higher expectations.

For Fans Of: August Burns Red, Parkway Drive, Bury Tomorrow, Wage War
By: Connor Welsh