The fact that this band features FEAR FACTORY’s ex-guitarist Dino Cazares is will probably prompt some out there to check out this band; for me, however, the very fact that Cazares is involved with this band filled me with dread since I’ve never particularly cared for any of his previous bands/projects, be it the much-overrated FEAR FACTORY or the equally worthless BRUJERIA. But hey, I have a job to do so I duly gave “Bleed The Fifth” (dodgy album title by the way…) a few listens, and guess what… it wasn’t the absolute shit-sandwich that I had feared.
So no, this album isn’t that bad but it also isn’t really that great either. Cazares has assembled quite a solid line-up, with Tim Yeung (HATE ETERNAL, VITAL REMAINS, etc.) on drums, Joe Payne (ex-NILE) on bass and an unknown, Tommy Vext, on lead vocals. With a line-up like this the musicianship on display here is obviously of a high caliber, with Vext being particularly impressive – he switches from a death growl to a slightly more clean Metalcore scream quite effortlessly. The only problem is that this band opted for a very generic and clinical approach to their music. Musically this album falls somewhere between Death Metal and Metalcore, with a hint of Industrial thrown in (big surprise…). I would’ve liked the songs to have a looser and more live feel but no such luck – instead they are all bone-dry, with the dry production and super-tight instrumentation literally sucking the life out of everything. It’s almost as if they wanted to play Industrial Metal (but without the electronic shit), as the riffs are of the machine gun chugga variety and stop-start rhythms are all over the place. It’s all too tight and no ball-crushing rolling riffs are anywhere to be found, which is a shame because many of these songs are custom built to allow for a bit more speed and guitar interplay. They build up in intensity and speed but then instead of really going for the throat they just kind of peter out and drown in a fuzz of repetitive guitar nonsense. Enough foreplay goddammit – it’s time to put out!!!
Some stand-out moments include “This Threat Is Real” (great melodic chorus here) and “Savior Self”, a song that starts off slowly but soon reaches a triumphant crescendo of riffs and drum histrionics. “Closure” is also quite good, even if the chorus is a bit too sugary for my tastes. Only the mundane title track and the directionless “Royal Blood Heresy” are of the filler variety; the rest varies between good and solid. The industrial effects are kept to a bare minimum and the inclusion of a few solos was something quite welcome, especially considering this is Dino Cazares we’re talking about. And just to reiterate – Vext is a fucking revelation behind the mic, churning out convincing screams, growls and semi-spoken lines in abundance. Really good stuff.
So there you have it. Dino Cazares’s first “real” post-FF band is certainly not one that should be overlooked. “Bleed The Fifth” isn’t quite the barnburner that it could’ve been but it is still a solid debut album from a bunch of very talented guys. Just give the songs a little more room to breathe next time around and thrash out instead of chug-out and DIVINE HERESY will be one of the better “Deathcore” bands doing the rounds.
(Online September 16, 2007)