Bleed from Within – Fracture and RebuildThursday, 21st May 2020
Scottish modern metal act Bleed from Within have been playing the long game, having been around since 2005 and are now releasing their fifth album, Fracture. But it’s worked for them, with previous album Era being a high water mark for the act and propelling the band forward after a murky period where the band was almost finished. Things look bright for the act now, with new release Fracture flexing the right muscle to mark Bleed from Within as an even more celebrated act. We spoke with vocalist Scott Kennedy about all of these topics, as well as the band’s own beer, the Scottish scene, and more.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel Fracture differs from what you have done in the past?
Scott Kennedy: I think the one thing that naturally comes with time is that we have gotten better at writing songs and better at our instruments. When we released our last album, Era, we have spent a lot of time on the road and we wrote most of Fracture while we were touring – on our days off and stuff. We would go to cabins in between tour dates and we would hang out in nature and start writing the album. Since we did it while we were on tour, that live feel naturally came while we were writing. Again, I feel that over the years we have gotten better at writing songs and focusing on bigger choruses. I think that’s what Fracture has more than our other albums – we really wanted bigger and better hooks in the choruses.
Dead Rhetoric: There was a bit of quiet before Era was released – do you feel that the band is firing on all cylinders once again?
Kennedy: 100%! When we released Uprising, we were young and naïve. We were certainly listening a lot to what people were telling us to do instead of what we wanted to do. By doing that, it left us in a bad situation to be honest. We were in a lot of debt and we were still quite young. It was a bad situation in the band, to the point where the band was pretty much over. Without saying it, the band was done. But we had written some of the songs that would be on Era and we were really happy with them. We thought it was a definite step up from Uprising, so we wanted to finish the album and put it out.
The response to Era was incredible. It took us to that next level as a band. When we were playing shows as a band, people were singing the words back to us and that’s something we hadn’t experienced before. It was incredible. When we released Era, a lot of people were skeptical. They thought we were going to disappear for another five years. So we really wanted to get Fracture out so that everyone knows that we are 100% back. We believe it to be a stronger album than Era, so let’s hope people agree.
Dead Rhetoric: From looking at the press release, I got the impression that Fracture has more of a personal significance to the band?
Kennedy: Yeah, I mean Era was definitely a negative album in terms of where we were at as a band, and personally. Fracture sort of touches on that in a positive way. We have all changed a lot as people. We don’t take it for granted anymore. Now that we have the power of the band back in our hands, Fracture is a bit of a new approach to where we are as people, living as a society as we do in these times. It’s more of our personal outlook on life.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you say about the artwork of Fracture?
Kennedy: It touches about what I was just saying. The figure on the album cover is like a moment suspended in time. Like us seeing this band now for what it is. Us having control over what it is, it’s sort of that kind of moment. We are getting a chance to look at the rest of the world and see where we stand. I guess that’s what the whole meaning of where the artwork comes from. No matter what you go through, or what challenges you face, you have to take a step back and look at things for what they are and attack it in your own way. I think the whole meaning of the album has a different meaning to each of us, and we’d like that to be open to interpretation, so that people can take something from it for themselves, and maybe help them get through certain situations.
Dead Rhetoric: How’d you get Matt Heafy involved with one of the tracks?
Kennedy: Going back to what I was talking about with Era, it was our most successful album. We felt like that was when people started to take notice. When we released the album, we started to see people in bigger bands that we looked up to posting about it. Matt Heafy was one of them, and he had posted a lot about it on social media. That was something that we had never really seen before. He’s the one that stuck out with constantly promoting us on his Instagram, Twitter, and stuff. So I reached out to say thank you, and that we admired what he does. So we kept in contact, and we were on tour last year with Lamb of God, and we had a day off. Trivium were only a few hours away, so Matt had said that if we wanted to come see a show, he would put us on the list. So we did that and we all hung out and drank some beers.
I had mentioned that we were working on a new album, and if he would be up for doing a guest solo or something. I had always been a big fan of that Roadrunner United cd, especially the songs that he had written on it, like the black metal song with Dani Filth on it. I always remembered the solos he had done were phenomenal. I remember thinking way back then that it would be so cool if he did a solo on our album. That was a thought in my head ten years ago. I told him that, and he was 100% up for it, and it all fell into place. We are all happy about how it came out, and he loved the song. It was just perfect.
Dead Rhetoric: You had a pretty successful beer that you helped make. Are you really into that brewing process?
Kennedy: I couldn’t brew a beer myself, but we were very much involved in the process. I was too busy just drinking the beer that was there that I didn’t pay attention to what we were doing. One of the guys was a fan of Bleed from Within, and we all love that brewery. They have a big brewery in Glasgow where we always go on the weekends, so it’s kind of a local for us. They make the nicest craft beers and IPAs. We had just reached out to them and they were 100% behind it. So we had a meeting and got to meet all of the brewers. We filmed the whole process. It was a great experience. One of the best experiences was sitting down in my own house and drinking one of our own beers. Not only that, the beer tasted amazing. It was a blood orange session IPA. It was so awesome.
Dead Rhetoric: Would you be willing to do something like that again in the future?
Kennedy: We already have plans to. I think we are going to start brewing a new one soon. I feel like beer is a big part of Bleed from Within. We are all big fans of drinking beer…sensibly of course. We are all big drinkers and we are really excited about the whole brewing thing.
Dead Rhetoric: So are there any particular styles that stand out for you?
Kennedy: I’m a really big fan of Belgian beer. Delirium [Tremens] – that’s probably my favorite beer. And obviously the Bleed from Within beer, I have to say that one don’t I [laughs]?
Dead Rhetoric: How do you view the way that you all have evolved over the years?
Kennedy: I feel like it’s come from touring with bands that we look up to and seeing how professional they are. We started touring in 2007, and I think our first big support tour was for All that Remains. That was in 2010. Just seeing other bigger bands over the years that we look up to and how they approach things – we take a lot from that. Every tour we do we are like kids. We are still big fans of music. None of that stuff gets lost on us. Every time we are out we try to get new experiences and learn things from other bands and adapt it to ourselves. I feel like that has matured us a lot. When we used to go on tour, we would just get fucking wasted all the time. Now we take it a lot more seriously. We are also a lot older now. I am 32 years old now, and I just want to be a more mature band now with a more mature sound. It’s again something that comes naturally as you get older.
Dead Rhetoric: What lyrical concepts do you like to work with?
Kennedy: Personal experience I guess. I would never write about something that doesn’t really mean anything to me. I like it to come from a personal place. The one thing I try to do is leave my lyrics open to interpretation. I don’t force my views on people, as some of our lyrics involve politics. Quite a lot of shows I go to, you see a lot of vocalists really preaching and forcing things on people. When I was a kid and going to shows, you were going to escape all of the bullshit in the world, so I don’t want to force my opinions on people. We have a song on the new album about Scottish independence, and that’s something that some people don’t agree with, so I like to try to be as vague as possible even though it comes from a personal place. I like it to be personal because if it’s not, there’s no point in really singing it if there’s no emotion attached to it.
Dead Rhetoric: One thing I’ve noticed in the last few years, and in the way that Bleed from Within gets categorized – do you feel there’s a bit of a metalcore resurgence?
Kennedy: I try my hardest not to involve myself in what other people are doing. A lot of people call us a metalcore or deathcore band, but I like to just consider us a metal band. When I was growing up, the bands that inspired me were bands like Pantera and Lamb of God. You didn’t hear as much about subgenres. That’s where we come from. So we just see ourselves as a metal band, and I try to stay away from deathcore and stuff like that because to me none of it matters. I try not to involve myself too much in it. I do think that there are so many good, younger metal bands out there. I just hope that they don’t get caught up in that nonsense.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you say about the metal scene in Scotland? I don’t hear about quite as many coming from there as I do in other parts of Europe.
Kennedy: There’s so many good bands. There’s a really good death metal band called Scordatura. They are seriously incredible. I know that Trevor from The Black Dahlia Murder promotes them quite a bit. Our guitar player Steven [Jones] plays in another band called From Sorrow to Serenity, and they have that whole djent-y, Periphery/Meshuggah influence. They are an amazing band. I feel like a lot of good bands from here just don’t get much recognition, because they aren’t touring about. I remember when we started back in 2005, we were struggling to get shows down south in London and stuff. We were a young band and no one wanted to pay us to get down there. Obviously it costs money to get five guys in a van with all of their equipment in a van and drive 10 hours to the bottom of the country.
It’s difficult being a band from Scotland, trying to get recognition is difficult. But the scene is incredible. One thing I mentioned in a different interview. They asked about the scene in Glasgow, and shows here are crazy because everyone is always drunk as fuck [laughs]. People go absolutely mental at the shows, because about 90% of them are drunk. I feel like as a country we like to drink [laughs]. Professionally – people here can handle their drinks [laughs].
Dead Rhetoric: What do you see as a positive experience that you’ve had with Bleed from Within?
Kennedy: I feel like last year, the tour with Lamb of God. They are the one band I feel I’ve looked up to the most. When I was in high school, I bought As the Palaces Burn on the day it came out. Ashes of the Wake is one of my favorite albums of all time. I know every single lyric to every single Lamb of God song. Our drummer Ali [Richardson] can play most Lamb of God songs too. Growing up, they were probably one of our biggest influences, and I remember dreaming about playing with them. I saw them at their first ever show in Glasgow as well. That experience – to be in that environment with those guys, and have them treat you like they are one of their peers. It was surreal. We were backstage hanging out with the guys in Lamb of God, and they were treating us with respect, it was such as nice experience and I’ll never forget that.
Dead Rhetoric: Everything is up in the air currently, but is there anything planned for the band right now?
Kennedy: Currently, we are very much aware that everyone is in the same situation, and it’s not a nice situation to be in. This year was looking to be the biggest of our career. We were supposed to be out on tour with another of my favorite bands, and it was a six week tour of Europe. 80% of the places were locations that we hadn’t played in before – like Greece and Serbia. That’s not going ahead. We also had a massive festival run. There were also potential plans to come to the States at the end of the year. We also had our first UK and Europe headlining tour – our first one in like 5 years. Now we don’t know if anything is going ahead.
We are sticking it out with our album. I see a lot of bands are postponing the release, but we had the discussion with our label about it, but we went ahead with the release date. Even though all of this stuff is going on, people are still alive. They want to listen to music. They are stuck in the house with nothing to do. Why not give them the music that we are excited for them to hear? Regardless of whether we can tour, everything with the album is still on track. It’s unfortunate and disheartening with what is going on with shows, but again, everyone is in the same boat. We just need to run with it and make the most of it. We hope that people like the album, so that when we can start touring, people come out and support us.