Band: The Five Hundred
Album: Bleed Red
Label: Long Branch Records
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: August 17, 2018
The Five Hundred first came on my radar in 2017, on one of the carnifex fan pages I follow, I saw they were having a short six show tour across Europe. Carnifex brought two bands with them, one being A Night in the Abyss, the other being The Five Hundred. When I listen to The Five Hundred, I feel as if I’m teleported back in time. When I was younger I listened to a lot more metalcore than I do today, I have to say right now that if you aren’t open to metalcore or don’t consider it metal, then this is not for you.
The first thing that I noticed about the band was the vocalist’s competent clean vocals, nothing is worse than listening to a band that tries to do both clean and harsh vocals but cannot achieve one of them. Lyric wise, it’s your traditional metalcore experience, nothing really came out and struck me as game-changing, instead, it was the standard affair with a noticeably less amount of angst than most of their contemporaries, which is always a great thing. Some lyrics are pretty odd and it makes me wish a little more time was taken in writing so we didn’t have lines like “This is deep, this is deeper than the deepest sea” but it could be worse and we all know it. The vocalist switches through three different vocal delivery styles, you have your traditional metalcore yells, a nice tenor clean singing voice with an admirable range, and a higher pitched shriek. The cleans and shrieks are good but a lot of the time the yells fall flat, it almost seems like the vocalist knew they were not his strongest area and tried to use them as little as possible which is a sign that he knows his weakness and he tried to get around it.
The shredding on this album is insane, some of it sounds like it could be off of a prog record, this is where the band stands out. Contemporary metalcore bands traditionally stray away from solos and complex riffs in my experience which is fine, stay with what you can play as an obvious rule of thumb. If you had any reason to check this album out above other metalcore bands, it would be the guitarists, they bring their A game on almost every track, some of my favorites being “Reclusive”, and “Buried” the solo on Reclusive specifically sounds like it could have come from an Angel Vivaldi or Plini record. The bass, however, is a somewhat different story, the bass has never gotten much attention in metalcore besides being your generic chugging djent stick which I’m sad to say comes through on this album as well save for a couple of songs.
There is no hiding the talent behind the band’s instrumentalists and I hope that for their next album they are able to go all out, It is my belief that “Reclusive” is the closest we can really get to guitarists AND bassist gone wild. If every song were of the quality of “Reclusive”, I am certain this would be one of the biggest metalcore releases of the year, it has a dynamic atmosphere and blows the competition of best song out of the water. Every song on the album has its own identity which is impressive, especially with the fact that its metalcore, in the landscape of a quickly stagnating genre, this album breathes life into it all.
Not all is sunshine and rainbows though, the album as a whole suffers from overproduction so much that I’m sure a live version of the album would be a different beast in its entirety. A little touch up in most wouldn’t be too noticeable but I am certain that songs like “Smoke & Mirrors” and “Seduced by Shadows” would not be noticeable when played live because of all the alterations in post-recording.
The Five Hundred create a unique experience in a stagnating subgenre, injecting it with something that made the earliest forms of metalcore enjoyable while throwing something of their own into the pot. The band have a ways to go but I would put my money behind them more than almost any other metalcore band of the modern era. All the boxes for this band are checked and it’s only their third release.
1. Bleed Red
2. Smoke & Mirrors
5. The Noose
7. Seduced By Shadows
8. The Narcissist
9. I am the Undead
Total Playing Time: 38:06
The epitome of power metal and folk metal (although a big fan of doom too). You can catch me playing/writing for dungeons and dragons with my friends at the local tabletop game store.