Bleed The Fifth
As a veteran Fear Factory enthusiast, my fascination with Dino Cazares-led Metalcore icons Divine Heresy was inevitable. Following an unceremonious (and, for that matter, notoriously acrimonious) departure from the Industrial Metal legends, the Calexico, California-born axemaster quickly launched the group with future Bad Wolves frontman Tommy Vext and drummer Tim Yeung (Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel) in tow. Issuing their full-length debut Bleed The Fifth in 2007 to near universal acclaim, the singles “Failed Creation” and “Bleed The Fifth” would ultimately be featured on MTV2's Headbangers Ball. Unfortunately, the group would implode following the release of their woefully-overlooked sophomore effort Bringer Of Plagues (2009) as Cazares would re-join Fear Factory after reconciling his differences with frontman Burton C. Bell. As you can imagine, with the limited (300 copies worldwide) vinyl re-issue of Bleed The Fifth, I again find myself happily indulging.
On the brilliant Bleed The Fifth (2021) deluxe vinyl re-issue, an expertly assembled twelve track collection of Death and Groove Metal-infused Metalcore, each track, beginning with the relentlessly pummeling statement of intent “Bleed The Fifth” and the thunderous, Nicholas Barker (Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Lock Up) co-penned gem “This Threat Is Real”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Wasting little--if any--time driving home each key focal point via an often seamless, multi-dimensional barrage of roaring vocals, blistering fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms, the snarling group flexes their more-than-considerable creative muscles early and often. Offering an initial series of excursions that maintain a precarious balance between melody and faux rage that would soon become their trademark, they set the pace and tonality for the audio onslaught that follows.
Continuing with the maddeningly infectious--albeit shred-laden tirades--“Savior Self” and the speed-of-light pummeling of “Rise Of The Scorned” (featuring ex-Soulfly guitarist Marc Rizzo, future Fear Factory bandmate bassist Tony Campos and the previously-mentioned Barker), Cazares, who essentially handles all guitar and the bass duties) is joined by vocalist Tommy Vext (Snot, ex-Westfield Massacre) and drummer Tim Yeung (ex-Nile, Morbid Angel and Vital Remains, among others). Having repeatedly demonstrated his penchant for crafting memorable, razor-sharp riffs and solos, the depths and intensity of Cazares's strains leave each composition with his distinct machine-like precision. Surging ahead with what can only be described as an oft-sickening ease, the group musically and lyrically differentiates themselves from their few legitimate contemporaries, both quasi-mainstream and otherwise, by enthusiastically avoiding and capitalizing upon the tried and true formula of yore.
Produced by the acclaimed Logan Mader (Machine Head, Medication, Soulfly) for Dirty Icon Productions, other standouts, including the mosh-inducing, full-throttle lamentation “Soul Decoded (Now And Forever)” and the hauntingly barbed melodicisms of “Royal Blood Heresy”, only further reinforce Cazares's undeniably well-deserved reputation as a bona fide creative force to be reckoned with. Fortified via previously unreleased bonus tracks (“Purity Defiled” and “Creator Defied”), the end result(s) of the group's more than considerable efforts force the proverbial average listener to fully acknowledge Cazares's rightful position within the hierarchy of the Heavy Metal genre. Adorned throughout by artwork courtesy of German-born cross-media surrealist Joachim Luetke (Arch Enemy, Dimmu Borgir, Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble Of Shadows), you'll only have yourself to blame for missing the unique opportunity to wholeheartedly embrace this criminally-underrated masterpiece.
Although the group's career trajectory would ultimately prove to be all-too-brief (the previously mentioned Bringer Of Plagues still serves as their newest release), the majority--if not all--of the refreshingly over-the-top wares contained herein deftly showcases Cazares's unabashed lyrical and compositional ingenuities beyond the confines of Fear Factory. However, what separates the truly mighty jewel that is Bleed The Fifth and, as a result, the tragically short-lived trio/quartet itself, from their few legitimate contemporaries is his ceaseless dedication to honing a notoriously razor-sharp skill-set. Needless to say, if you have once again found yourself in search of a relentlessly pummeling reprieve from the painfully mindless din and clatter that is so often force fed en mass via the proverbial mainstream (e.g. the malignancies best known as 'New Metal'), then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane audio counterirritant for whatever it is that ails you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
Bringer Of Plagues (2009)
Bleed The Fifth (2007)
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