If the impending Bleeding Through comeback record represents the logical conclusion of the metalcore revival, then Era perhaps represents its pinnacle. Bleed From Within struggled to raise their heads above the pack during the genre’s heyday. 2018, however, sees them return with not only an A-grade record, but one which sets the standard incredibly high for their competitors.

Bleed From Within have clearly been putting the past-half decade they’ve spent in absentia to good use. Everything about this record stands head and shoulders above their previous output. New guitarist Stephen Jones (From Sorrow To Serenity) brings an added technicality and the occasional djenty bounce to the band’s sound, but it’s vocalist Scott Kennedy who shows a marked improvement. There’s perhaps less variation to his delivery than there has been in the past. However, by focusing in on the stronger aspects of his palette, Kennedy has transformed himself into a formidable frontman who fits his style to a T, and who sounds more than a little reminiscent of Unearth‘s Trevor Phipps (which can only be a good thing). Likewise, drummer Ali Richardson (also of Sylosis) has stepped up his already-impressive performance to deliver something truly exhilarating.

The songs on Era are simply better than anything Bleed From Within has put their name to previously, while also easily outclassing the majority of what their contemporaries have been dishing up recently as well. Lead single “Alive” sounds exactly like if Architects decided to try their hand at thrash metal, while “Crown of Misery” puts Bleeding Through’s return to shame before it’s even really begun.Tracks like “Cast Down”, “Bed of Snakes” and outstanding closer “Drag You To The Ground” see the band strike the perfect balance between the sheer ferocity of Unearth and the unrelenting precision Lamb of God have made their name off of—all the while bolstered by Adam “Nolly” Getgood‘s phenomenal production. Getgood really has become the gold standard when it comes to this kind of punchy, modern production and it’s no less effective in this more streamlined setting.

There really isn’t a weak link among its thirteen-deep tracklist and there’s just enough variation between the songs to keep things from ever getting stale. While there’s rarely a moment on the record where the band doesn’t have their proverbial foot to the floor, they also know exactly when to dial things back a bit and let things sink in a bit. “Alone In The Sun” is the perfect example of this. The track alternates between some of the hardest and softest material to be found on the record, which effect is further bolstered by its catching melodic chorus. The brief respite only makes its frantic follower “Gatekeeper” sound all the more colossal when it kicks in before “Ruina” rests the pace once again with its ominous, brooding stomp. Though all essentially cut from the same cloth, each and every song on Era contains enough of its own distinguishing features so that none of them ever get lost in the mix, and saving choice cuts like “Alive” and “Drag You To The Ground” for later in the record helps keep things fresh throughout its ample running time.

If you’re going to play metalcore in 2018 then you’d better bring it and Bleed From Within have brought it harder than anyone has in a long, long time, and just so happened to deliver a late genre classic along the way. Era is the best record of its ilk since Unearth’s phenomenal Watchers of Rule (2014) and one which puts the rest of its genre firmly on notice.

Era is out now through Century Media.

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