Photo Credit: Tom Armstrong
It's not an overly grandiose claim to make that Bleed From Within's career can quite literally be split into two halves. From sonically, to line up & behind the scenes settings - the Scots have lead an almost Clarke Kent like double life: from the rough around the edges deathcore outfit - to front runners of modern British Metal, the five piece re-galvanised two years ago and never looked back.
New record Fracture was of course at the tip of the bands reclamation spear. It's an album that delivered the kind of heavyweight, encompassing punch of metal you'd expect from the likes of Parkway Drive or Trivium - two bands the quintet unquestionably have their sights on matching.
The concept of thinking about Bleed From Within's career as a two part franchise is given credence by drummer Ali Richardson's lack of detailed memory about the true beginnings of their journey. 2009's Humanity was a blood-curdling death metal fire breather that seemingly capitalised on an extreme metal movement alongside the likes of Suicide Silence's The Cleansing and Job For A Cowboy's Genesis.
His honesty about that period of the band by no means suggests an element of disdain for their earlier work, but Richardson makes it clear from the off which side of Bleed From Within's tenure he'd be willing to bat for. "I haven't listened to that record [Humanity] for years" He claims "That and Empire  were on an old record label, we had a different line up, we were different people, and honestly so much has changed in recent years that they're an after thought for me. There's some part of me that will always remember them coming out, and the times I had touring them, the friends I made from them - some of which I still speak to, to this day. But for me, the first Bleed From Within album was Uprising , that's when we first found ourselves properly."
Interestingly enough, it wasn't long after Uprising, the bands first supposed discover of an appealing identity - that the most tumultuous segment of their career would arrive. Richardson has venom in his voice as he describes Bleed From Within being "chewed up and spit out by the music industry." The inner workings and politics of the lifestyle began to take its toll on the band, to the point where we should be grateful we still have them as an outfit at all.
"That gap from 2013-2018 was the worst instance of this [difficulties in the industry] I can't go into it for legal reasons, but we were basically left with tens of thousands of pounds of debt. It was a fucking hard time, AND we lost our guitar player Martyn [Evans] as well, who's still a really good friend, and was a big part of the writing process. We were totally fucked, we were trying to write but were so uninspired, we didn't know whether we'd come out the other side of it. We've never been put into a situation like that before - it was a dog shit time."
Serving as a pivotal change of fortune, guitarist Steven Jones would arrive into the fold during 2017 armed with the passion of now being a member of what was his favourite band. Ali credits Jones' enthusiasm as being the ideal injection of adrenaline the Scots were dying for at the time, which eventually got the pieces moving towards Era, their once unfeasible, unthinkable, comeback album.
"That was an album that we never thought was gonna happen, I can tell you right now we went all fucking in on Era. That was our 'fuck you' to the music industry, and to the people that doubted, and turned their back on us." As far as comeback albums go, Era was a vital cog in what would become the apparent completed Bleed From Within puzzle with Fracture. And from it, Richardson and co found inspiration, they found it in their live shows, in their album sales, and in their communication with fans. Prior to its release, Bleed From Within couldn't be certain whether or not people still cared: they did.
If Era was to serve as a 'phoenix from the ashes' moment - then new record Fracture holds the mantle of the bands first colossal, evolutionary step. Ali is no more keen on the set up of the industry he lives in though, he holds back no emotion when he states he 'still fucking hates it' - to be fair, you can't blame him. But out of the rubble of setbacks, the debt, and the chaos emerges their most sought after creative discovery - their diamond in the rough.
A spark in his voice returns as he delves into what now seems like a simplistic, picturesque setting for the band to ply their trade in. Ali's seemingly stoic statement of "No one has got the bands best interest more at the forefront of their minds than ourselves" is one that sounds like it would be an obligatory check mark to tick from the outside - but it's a revelation that helped save them. Five guys who have a scarred history with musical authority figures aren't just best suited to see to their own wounds - it's where they thrive.
"After the last business partnership fell to bits it came on to me, and I said: look, 'I'll take on this role, we'll make decisions as a five, and then I'll be the guy that does the digging and the networking.' And ever since that point we just started to get a bit more savvy, you get a clearer idea of what's going on. You're learning every day, but ultimately you ask the questions when they need to be asked. And I'm not gonna fuck over myself, and I'm not gonna fuck over my four best mates, it's evident that no one else has been able to do that in the past."
Perhaps most telling about the prosperity that Bleed From Within now find themselves in, is that this is who they've wanted to be all along. Lead single (and song of their career) from Fracture 'The End Of All We Know' was a fitting signifier that they were heading for uncharted waters. But they didn't doubt for a moment how hard it would land, they knew they had written something special, and Richardson insists that if they could have, this is the band they would have been in 2009.
"If we had the ability and know how to write these songs in 2009, then we would have done them. We're FINALLY starting to be able to write the music that we've always wanted to make. That's through experience and improving as musicians, understanding ourselves, and each other better. We don't actually know what we're capable of, we're very keen to push each other, and Fracture is an evolution of Era and this path that we're taking - as time goes on we're getting better at finding the harmony between melody and aggression."
What seemed unthinkable four years ago has somehow come to be, Bleed From Within have hit the most important stretch of their lifespan, and it doesn't even feel like this is their peak. Once an outfit wondering if the hassle was worth it, now a quintet looking to swing fists with the best of them. Fracture hasn't just breathed new life into the band, it's given them an extra airway - and they know it.