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The Five Hundred - Bleed Red

The Five Hundred
Bleed Red
by Jon Conant at 25 June 2018, 7:45 PM

THE FIVE HUNDRED are a fairly new band out of Nottingham, formed in 2014 having released two EPs leading to their upcoming debut full length “Bleed Red”, out August 17th via Long Branch Records.

They’ve intentionally self-described themselves in vague terms like “modern metal” to leave open a wide possibility of interpretation, which makes way for their sound that incorporates many different styles and elements. They’ve listed influences from AT THE GATES to THE HAUNTED to ALICE IN CHAINS. The result is a somewhat unique sound that seems different in 2018, but almost stale at the same time. It is ultimately rooted in outdated 2012 metalcore type melodies and breakdowns (with plenty of blast beats to go around).

The MDM influences become much less clear as they fall into sort of a generic metalcore type sound, with clear extreme metal influences. A lot of their chunkier passages with their harsh vocals are awesome, with some fresh riffs. But so many of the breakdowns are ultimately derivative, it got boring to listen to, for me. And the instrumentals during passages of cleans are ultimately written underneath to support the cleans, which becomes a problem when they are occasionally pitchy and often generic melodies. If clean vocals are going to carry music that much, they really just need to be better. Of course I say this as a picky music snob in 2018, they would have gotten away with it in 2009.

That being said, in the heavy moments when they brought it, it’s definitely jamming. Parts with cleans were really the main weak spot for me. Track 2 and lead single “Smoke And Mirrors” (linked below) was a highlight for me that brought the chunk with heavy harsh vocals and some of the better cleans on the album. I also greatly enjoyed track 5 “The Noose” which had stronger cleans, incorporated more “yelling” type screams which was cool, and had some of my favorite djentier moments. The breakdown towards the end when he screams “I’m already dead” was nasty filthy good, and the ending as a whole. Really good shit, probably my choice track on the album.

The back half of the album isn’t as strong as the front, the cleans are often worse and songs are often more drawn out and technical (immediately evident in track 6 “Reclusive”). That’s cool with some bands, but in this sound that unfortunately does feel generic at the core, it just doesn’t quite work with the long technical aspects. The melodies are also objectively less catchy. However, the back half of the album definitely feels heavier, so there’s that. Track 9 “I Am The Undead” was naughty and brought the djent pretty good, I of course loved that.

Closer “Circles” was kind of an an odd way to end the album, and somewhat lackluster. But it was a very strong finish on cleans, and the guitar solo and melodies presented therein were incredible and beautiful, it reminded me in a lot of ways of ABR. Overall, it’s a solid album from a young band, but nothing that’s going to break barriers. There’s a lot of room for THE FIVE HUNDRED to go up, and all the potential in the world. I think with more creative songwriting and some mistakes being fixed, this can be a band with a HUGE and powerful sound. For now, enjoy “Bleed Red”, and take it for what it is.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Bleed Red
2. Smoke & Mirrors
3. Buried
4. Oblivion
5. The Noose
6. Reclusive
7. Seduced By Shadows
8. The Narcissist
9. I Am The Undead
10. Circles
Lineup:
Johnathan Woods-Eley - Vocals
Mark Byrne - Guitars
Paul Doughty - Guitars
Andy Crawford - Bass
Kelsey James - Drums
Record Label: Long Branch Records
     


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Edited 18 October 2019
 

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