Released: 2005, The End Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Hailing from London, Ontario, Canada, Thine Eyes Bleed recently got a big wave of exposure by opening up for Slayer, Lamb of God, Mastodon and Children of Bodom on the Unholy Alliance Tour. Their debut album, IN THE WAKE OF SEPARATION, came out in 2005 and, musically-speaking, Thine Eyes Bleed fit somewhere in between the genres of neo-thrash and melodic death—think The Black Dahlia Murder meets Lamb of God. Vocalist Justin Wolfe possesses an unwaveringly harsh, blackened shriek and the riffs of Jeff Phillips (former Kittie touring guitarist) and Derek Ward come fast and furious with plenty of pinch harmonics and melodic flourishes. Unfortunately, with the exception of album opener “Cold Victim,” the other eight songs sound almost identical and dissolve into a mish-mash of familiarity and unexceptional moments (their Unholy Alliance live set was much the same). Not bad, per se, but nothing overly memorable or worthy of getting excited about, either.
The aforementioned “Cold Victim” is by and large, the standout cut on IN THE WAKE OF SEPARATION. Nothing else touches the pulverizing riffs, speeding kick drum and overall intensity heard here. Mixing just the right amount of melody into an aggressive chorus followed by a soaring guitar solo, the band has definitely found an excellent vibe to kick the album off with. “Without Warning” and “And Since Forgotten” sound like virtually the same track and it is not until the fourth track, “Live To Die,” that the formula is broken, with some sparingly used clean vocals in the song’s final moments. The ridiculously-named “Corpse You Up” is the low-point of the album, lumbering along with an over-reliance on pinch harmonics that would make Zakk Wylde wince. It isn’t until the last track, “Regret Your Fear,” that things really get interesting again. A shuffling groove parlays the blasting drums of Darryl Stephens here and there and the tight riffing jumps from clean melodies to a discordant choppiness. This change in tempos is welcomed after hearing the previous seven songs locking into a comfort zone and never branching outward.
This is Thine Eyes Bleed’s first album and some slack must be given for any shortcomings, however the person in charge of mixing IN THE WAKE OF SEPARATION seems to have forgotten to raise the levels to actually hear the bass of Luke Husband (who has since been replaced by John Araya…yep, brother of Slayer’s Tom Araya). The production suffers as a result because the drums sound more harsh than heavy and really lack a cohesive bottom-end. Also, the songwriting—most importantly, the riffs—really needs to improve on album number two. Thine Eyes Bleed clearly draw their influence from thrash bands and the entire basis of thrash is the riff, but these recycled slabs of boredom lack any fire or charisma.
IN THE WAKE OF SEPARATION suffers from monotony all too quickly and leaves the listener with a feeling of chilly indifference. “Cold Victim” starts out on high hopes but with eight tracks and nearly a half hour spanning between moments of note, it is difficult to recommend this CD. There simply is too much metal out there to waste repeated listens on an album as tedious, unoriginal and unfocused as this. However, there is still hope for the follow-up which will undoubtedly read “FEATURING JOHN ARAYA” in big, bold lettering across the front.
KILLER KUTS: “Cold Victim,” “Live To Die,” “Regret Your Fear”