Perseverance. A powerful word with an equally powerful meaning. Says the dictionary: “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” BLEED FROM WITHIN’s new album, Era, is that story, a no-compromise tale of the price of victory.
Drummer Ali Richardson says. “We are here now for a love of music; a desire to create and share the songs that we would want to listen to. There is literally nothing that can take that away from us.”
After guitarist Martyn Evans left the band BLEED FROM WITHIN initially tried to carry on as a four-piece, but things weren’t really shaping together quickly and smoothly enough. None of the local Glesga guitarists fit the BLEED FROM WITHIN vibe until they chanced on guitarist Steven Jones. They knew instantly Jones was the right for the job; and that guitarist Craig “Goonzi” Gowans had his sideman. With half of Era already in the bag, BLEED FROM WITHIN, with Jones in place, knew the rest wasn’t too far off. That Jones was also an experienced live musician and producer also helped BLEED FROM WITHIN right the proverbial ship.
“We started writing for this album shortly after releasing/touring Uprising,” guitarist Craig “Goonzi” Gowans recalls. “I think the first song we wrote ended up being ‘Alone in the Sun.’ We had a few rough songs done before the Death Walk EP, but decided to write two completely new songs specifically for that EP and save the rest for the album. Once Steven joined and started giving his input, things were picking up speed. We always bring our separate ideas into the studio and work together as a band on the songs, rather than one person dictating everything. We put a big focus on trimming the fat on this album, going over the songs again and again and taking anything out that really didn’t need to be there, as we felt some of the songs on the last album were too long/had a lot of unnecessary parts.”
The influences this time around centered on genres outside BLEED FROM WITHIN’s comfort zones. To wit, songs like ‘Clarity,’ ‘Afterlife,’ ‘I Am Oblivion, Part II,’ and ‘Ruina’ attack from a mindset unrestrained. They’re genuine BLEED FROM WITHIN, but the riffs are tighter, the hooks are stronger, and the choruses bigger. “The biggest difference for us this time round was the actual song writing,” says Ali. “We focused a lot more on how the songs were actually put together on this album. Most of the tracks follow a more conventional ‘pop song’ structure than anything we’ve done in the past. This was a massive learning curve for us. What we have learnt here is already being practiced on [our] new material.”
What fans will notice on Era is the clever employment of melody to smooth out BLEED FROM WITHIN’s rage-filled edges. Songs like ‘Crown of Misery,’ ‘Cast Down,’ ‘Bed of Snakes,’ and ‘Alone in the Sun’ benefit from the band’s developed sense of melody and melodic pacing. They’ve learned that all-out bruisers have their place, but songs that share aggression and melody are more rewarding on album as well as on stage. Something Ali is all-too eager to point out: “Melody and aggression always seem to balance themselves out naturally. It’s not something we are aware of during the writing process at all. With [Scott] Kennedy now pitching his screams and adding some clean vocal layers, we felt like the album was more melodic. The contrast between this and our heavier sections made everything seem so much more aggressive. It’s a welcome change that has made Era our most dynamic album to date. We are looking forward to further developing this relationship between melody and aggression.”
BLEED FROM WITHIN tracked Era at two studios: Middle Farm Studios and the band’s own BFW HQ. At Middle Farm, they teamed up yet again with Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood (Uprising, but also Periphery, Animals As Leaders…) to record Richardson’s drums. The plan was to complete the drum recordings in six days, but Richardson and Getgood blazed through the sessions in four. The band used the additional two days to add in percussion as well as test out guitar tones in advance of the sessions at BFW HQ. While at their own studio, Jones took up the producer and engineer role, ensuring that each take was the best possible take. There, BLEED FROM WITHIN recorded the guitars, bass, and vocals over an eight-week period.
“I think it’s fair to say we all enjoy tracking,” says Goonzi. “You get to play your instrument for hours on end for days/weeks at a time, and the people we work with are extremely easy and fun to work with and always get the best out of us. It’s like hanging out with your friends all day and playing metal, and you end up with a killer sounding album at the end of it all.”
Lyrically, Era changes things up as well. Before, personal struggles dominated the subject matter, but now the world around BLEED FROM WITHIN is the focus. Problems in politics, societal ills, and more permeate the group’s message. Ali says “the lyrics are the most reflective and opinionated collection of lyrics that we have ever put together.” Likewise, the cover art, created by bassist Davie Provan, fused BLEED FROM WITHIN’s new lyrical bent with the battle to get the new lineup off the ground.
“Davie came up with the concept for the Era art towards the end of the writing process,” Goonzi says.
“He’d never done cover art for us before so this is a big deal for him. He wanted to really push himself as an artist and create an original piece of art that conveyed the lyrical concept well. The image of the five hands reaching upwards to a final goal lends itself perfectly to the story of the band over the last few years, striving through hardship and coming out the other side to create something meaningful that we’re all proud of.”
BLEED FROM WITHIN’s next steps are to see Era through the release process, fulfilling the promise of single and video ‘Alive,’ which is already garnering rave reviews and super-positive feedback from fan and critic alike. Certainly, ‘Alive’ has set the tone of a band on upswing, one ready for whatever the future holds.