My weekend was mostly spent on public transport, all of the types, but mostly lengthy bus journeys. Arriving in London, tired with no real sleep, on the second day of four might not be the best mood to be in for a gig, but plenty of cider will see you through – oh, and the fact that said gig is part of Bleeding Through’s last ever. In January of this year alumni of the early noughts class of metalcore announced that this European tour would be their last; information soon followed by the announcement of their break up by the end of this year.
A great shame given the generally pulverising output the band have been putting out in their time, including some absolute classic albums of the metalcore genre – even though the band set themselves apart from the rest of the class with symphonic black metal influences, hints of industrial and atmospherics, a real emotional undercurrent and a brutality met by equal melody alongside the genre’s more typical influences of melodic death metal, hardcore and thrash metal. Following a lengthy goodbye letter from singer Brandan Schieppati, posted on his blog, it seems life has taken the front seat for the band with ‘marriages, kids, businesses and other endeavours.’
Not wanting to have the band take a backseat, or become part time, they felt it right to end it on their terms and give the fans a send off with final farewell tours where the fans needed them. One such place of course was the UK, and aside from playing as part of Hit The Deck Festival tour it was left to London Underworld for the band’s solo send off from the UK; something very visible in The World’s End above – metal coming over the jukebox, tattoos, piercings and band t-shirts galore. When my friends and I ventured into the Underworld, we’d unfortunately missed first support band Hand of Mercy, but were surprisingly immediately greeted by Marta Peterson of Bleeding Through wandering the bar meeting fans and having photos taken. We of course took part…
A pleasure furthered by drummer Derek Youngsma working the merch stand and obliging us a video of him wishing our friend who couldn’t make it a happy birthday. Nice. Anyway, drinks and bar embarrassments aside, in to the gig. This Or The Apocalypse were a genuinely pleasing surprise and really got the crowd whipped into shape ready for the headliners. Offering up a live sound that took in some bludgeoning low end, tight rhythms, great breakdowns, a sweet blend of vocals between hardcore and melodic and impressive fretwork atop it all. Having seen a member of the front row take repeated blows to the head from knees, elbows and fists in the pit vocalist Rick Armellino brought him up onstage to set him up for a private stage dive and ordered the crowd to carry him all around – and carry him they did.
By the time it’s time for Bleeding Through the floor is packed and eager; after a smoke and/or drink break between bands and with any late arrivals now in attendance. The moment the band step on stage the crowd applaud, that intro to Love Lost In A Hail Of Gunfire plays and everyone on the floor erupts with an immediate circle pit forming – a key opportunity to sneak down the front. From here on out it is an incendiary performance from the whole band, including original guitarist Scott Danough back in the fold. Working their way across their career hitting absolute classic songs from their album artillery along the way, the band do not fail to deliver what the fans want to hear – audible in every single lyric being screamed or sung right back.
In between songs Brandan makes sure the crowd know just how much this all means to him and the band, as he talks about the band through the years and where they are now, including the lows along the way – for a hulk who could probably tear his way through the crowd, he’s not afraid of showing the emotional impact this band and the fans, especially the reception their met with in Underworld, has had on him. It’s a sad occasion, in that it’s goodbye, but it’s a celebration of everything that lead up to this goodbye. There’s not a moment where the band or the crowd let up, stage dives everywhere, myself included, and by the time Kill To Believe is drawing to a close the crowd have rushed the stage and are holding Schieppati above their shoulders, not a single person not soaked through with sweat or boasting a hoarse voice.
And though it is farewell, despite Brandan promising a reunion in ten years when they’re all fat, for a few seconds this place was armageddon – there was a firefight! Courtesy of Bleeding Through. Thank you, and goodnight.