Released: 2008, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Oklahoma’s Bleed The Sky have come a long way in three years. Their 2005 debut, PARADIGM IN ENTROPY, was a mess of nu-metal clichés and half-baked similarities to Chimaira that got no love from this reviewer. Skip ahead to 2008 and with the six-piece trimmed down to five and boasting three new members, it is no surprise that MURDER THE DANCE sounds like an entirely different group. Produced by Fear Factory’s Christian Olde Wolbers, this record is a slick-sounding parade of vicious modern metal that begs, borrows and steals from Deftones and Pantera while still holding on to, sadly, a few remnants of the nu-metal baggage that dogged their debut.
The guitars have been noticeably moved up in the production queue this time around and really give the listener a kick in the pants. “Bastion” oozes with a slow, menacing brutality powered by the guitars of Rob Thornton and Justin Warrick while “The Demons That Could Be” motors along with staccato riffs that will certainly evoke comparisons to Meshuggah. From out of nowhere, “Slavior” and “Sullivan” offer up hook-filled, cleanly-sung choruses that are ripe for pushing as potential singles and could be breakthrough hits for the band. Bleed The Sky certainly displays some originality with “Occam’s Razor,” the album’s experimental centerpiece featuring a guest vocal by former Drain STH drummer, Martina Axen. The spacey duet between Axen and Noah Robinson and spartan instrumentation is equal parts Deftones and Radiohead which is a major departure from the rest of the album, which will have many scurrying to light up the Internet forums but it is an oddly compelling song. Sure to draw just as much debate, “Poseidon” very nearly plagiarizes mid-nineties Pantera, right down to Robinson channeling the drawling vocal style of Phil Anselmo and the band’s slow-burning southern metal groove. The only real misstep on MURDER THE DANCE is the atrocious “Kettle Black,” which, for whatever reason finds the band returning once again to the long dried-up nu-metal well. Robinson’s god awful whining and the chugging, lumbering guitars evokes images of chain wallets and baggy pants…never a good thing.
MURDER THE DANCE still finds things a bit shaky and all-over-the-place musically but Bleed The Sky has improved by leaps and bounds in the span of just one record. Thankfully, most of the mistakes of PARADIGM IN ENTROPY have been wiped away but there is still room to grow for this young band. Consider this a stepping stone because once the new lineup has been given some time to gel and tour these songs, there is no doubt that the third album—the true test for any band—will showcase what Bleed The Sky can really do.
KILLER KUTS: “Sullivan,” “The Sleeping Beauty,” “Morose,” “Bastion,” “Slavior,” “Poseidon”