It feels like it’s easy to take the current metal scene for granted. If you want to hear a heavy band from these shores, there are dozens and dozens of bands to choose from, and here’s yet another new addition: step up Nottingham/Gibraltarian newcomers, The Five Hundred.
After kicking around for a few years, they’re now ready with their first proper launch pad in the form of their debut full-length album, ‘Bleed Red’.
The fact that there’s plenty on offer here is impressive for a debut album. At the risk of sounding a bit Brexit-y, Johnathan Woods-Eley‘s clean vocals have a refreshing Britishness to them. Basically, it’s good to hear someone from here not pretending to be from New Jersey with a faux accent.
He can provide soaring melodies reminiscent of Matt Davies-Kreye (Funeral For A Friend) as well as powerful screams, and likewise the band can create an atmosphere, as well as a mechanical assault not too dissimilar from Gojira. It’s also nice to hear the good-cop-bad-cop method of switching between screaming and singing done in an unpredictable manner.
And The Five Hundred shouldn’t underestimate their ability to write songs like the utterly brilliant ‘Buried’, with shades of ‘Waking The Fallen’ era Avenged Sevenfold streaking through.
There’s character aplenty present here, as well as the dark lyrical narratives that pervade this song (and the whole album). Woods-Eley‘s range is notably remarkable in the chorus. Just don’t end a song this good with a fade-out next time, guys. It’s still one of the stand-out metal tracks of the year, and if there were any justice, you’d hear it everywhere you go.
Potent breakdowns are offered in ‘Oblivion’, and the grasp of light and shade is particularly commendable in ‘Seduced By Shadows’ and ‘Circles’, and the band deserve praise for making different aspects of their sound flow together seamlessly.
‘The Narcissist’ is perhaps the best example of The Five Hundred getting a lot done in a short space of time. We have a piano-led intro, crushing heaviness and riffs, a strings-assisted chorus, and a rip-roaring solo near the end.
There is great depth on this album, and it could still be expanded upon for future releases. But you still feel like the best is yet to come, and this is only the start of a potentially great discography.
All minor criticisms aside, ‘Bleed Red’ is one of the most promising debut releases of the year. If they carry on this way, The Five Hundred are likely to mirror Architects‘ and Bury Tomorrow‘s ascents into the big time.