Album Review: The Bleeding – Monokrator

Album Review: The Bleeding – Monokrator
Reviewed by Sam Jones

The Bleeding are a name in extreme metal that’s been growing very quickly and especially within the UK scene too. Formed in 2012, the band’s rise to recognition has been a slow and steady game releasing a Demo and EP initially before coming out with their first full length release, Rites Of Absolution, come 2017. Another EP and album, Morbid Prophecy, came two years on and this is where the band’s rapport really started making waves in the underground community. Now being released independently, The Bleeding aim to release Monokrator for a June 9th release window and unleash another exasperating onslaught of death metal upon their now established fanbase. Myself personally it’s a first time experience listening to The Bleeding, and I’m curious to see whether the band’s prowess lives up to the hype.

For an album that’s as short as Monokrator, the sheer speed the band play at comes off as no surprise. With just eight tracks in all, The Bleeding assail us with an absolute ferocious pace that starts, and ends the exact same way. Frankly, had they attempted anything else it may not have worked for them as that would require additional time to develop songwriting that was equally meaningful and powerful to our experience. By keeping things straightforward and to the point; The Bleeding ensure audiences come satisfied knowing the one thing they were anticipating is precisely what they’re getting. With that said, the speed the band play at doesn’t negate the impact their songwriting has; a track may be just three minutes long but we mustn’t think that results in mediocre songwriting, for the band see to it were flung through various twists and turns on numerous occasions. Tracks are short, but they’re wonderfully sweet with plenty to be discovered inside.

While the band certainly play at a blinding pace it’s not as if they completely neglected to appreciate the other elements fans would want to discover from the band. The bass is one such aspect as, while the riffs and intensity relax from time to time, the bass sports this lusciously thick and taut tone that showcases why this album appears to boast such a meaty and solid foundation. The bass may not be too audible while the band are moving at breakneck speed but there are more than enough instances whereby the bass makes its presence known to us and, in more than one place, the bass is just as fluid and vital an instrument to the overall performance of the record preferring to work alongside the riffs and drumming than merely playing underneath them. A subservient bass presence this is not.

Album Review: The Bleeding – Monokrator

What grew one me however, was the intoxicating allure this record instils. The overall intensity the play at is morbidly appealing, like peering at a train collision when we understand full well what carnage and mayhem is about to ensue; this is all the more prevalent after the opening tracks as we become used to the devastation The Bleeding offer with each ensuing song. Drunk on obliteration, this is a record that excels on malice and senseless headbanging as you’ll be enticed to crank this album as loud as it and your eardrums may dare. This is an exception where going for vast volume works in a band’s favour as doing so only heightens the impact and power The Bleeding vie for. It feels increasingly enveloping when the band employ their longer pieces, something that isn’t always achieved, as that greater span of time seduces us into the maelstrom that is their soundscape. All in all, Monokrator is an album that thrives off chaos and really lends you the opportunity, for half an hour, to loose all shackles of modern life and just go nuts.

If there’s one particular element to the record that helps this performance achieve its believability, it’s the vocals. The band could play as fast and mercilessly as they could hope, yet had the vocals not been as savage and matched the instrumental intensity I doubt this record would be as powerful as it’s regarded as. This is definitely one of the more passionate and energetic vocal performances we’ve had this year and it complements the songwriting and instrumentation nigh on perfectly. This doesn’t feel like a vocal delivery that’s been slapped in the middle of riffs and track progression; it’s as if the vocals are naturally emanating from the ruthlessness the band represent. The band collectively sell the performance well and moreover, it’s nice to acknowledge a vocal performance, harnessing this rapid-fire, scathing style, that doesn’t simply rest in one place from start to finish. We can feel the changing levels of pitch and movement as the vocal work is utilised to establish the band’s shifting songwriting whether it be steadier, faster or going for an altogether nastier approach.

In conclusion, The Bleeding, having come to my attention through this record, truly are a stalwart of the British death metal scene. Monokrator is an utterly sublime album that fires on all fronts, demonstrating quality songwriting and a performance across the full band that enables us to fully get behind the power being thrown into it. This is a vortex from one track to the next as the band refuse to let up on us, nor does our engagement for any second start to stray from anything that isn’t otherwise thrust in our face through this performance. Best of all, Monokrator just skirts over thirty minutes long. The band don’t hang around and therefore the potential for replayability is far greater than other, longer works of death metal. Throw in the scathing tone and the fearsome impact they impart, and we’ve got an album we can truly get behind. This is the best kind of album, one that opens your eyes to what you’ve been missing out on yet leaves you smiling knowing it’s found another fan.

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.