Internal Bleeding - Onward to Mecca
Olympic Recordings
Deathcore
9 songs (37'17")
Release year: 2004
Internal Bleeding, Olympic Recordings
Reviewed by Alex

Sort of being on the Suffocation roll I thought reviewing Internal Bleeding next would be very appropriate. Similarities abound. Both bands originated in the underground NY death metal scene. Both started their careers in the early 90s and issued some very influential cult demos/albums. Both had long layoffs away from the field. Both maintain an underground cult status trying to regroup and come back these days. For me personally, however, the difference lies in the fact I have never heard Internal Bleeding before, unlike Suffocation, whose old albums represent the classic of the genre for me. Well, having listened to Souls to Deny vs. Onward to Mecca, I would have to say those paths have diverged in more ways than one. And, no, I am not trying to compare and say that one album is better than the other. It is just Internal Bleeding is not even pure death metal anymore. Hardcore influences permeate the essence of the album through and through. Deathcore label is very suitable and might be even welcomed by the band’s fans.

One thing about a large number of tracks on Onward to Mecca – the approach is quite formulaic. What starts out with a kick, fast and brutal, very much along the lines of NY death metal school, tends to break down a minute or two into the song to become very rhythmic, but way slower, riff chugging. Siege in the Clouds, Far Above You, Contamination are all prime examples of the former. Just when you settle in with the fast and the furious and expect a further kick in the pants on Contamination, the band pulls the throttle back and the chug begins. Internal Bleeding, for better or worse, has mastered the hardcore breakdown art. For better, as this stuff really goes over well for moshing crowds, for worse, as I am wondering why this does not appeal to me as much. Further dichotomy lies in the fact the band can be outstanding technicians and make the listener dizzy with supertechnical, very Suffocation like, guitar runs and solos (Far Above You, Arm Our Youth). Yet rhythmic simpler pounding seems to be very much what the band prefers. At times, the tempo is slowed down to a crawl (Hateful). One thing Internal Bleeding has on many hardcore bands is their slow music sounds much darker and more ominous, just like the end of Intolerance. This is not some adolescent angst, but manly anger. The only track, and you could have guessed it is my favorite, where groove is kept without sacrificing the technicality or the speed is Infidel. Another cool, but very non-typical part, is the acoustic outro on This Day I Fight.

Jerry Lowe’s vocals are an image of the direction the band chose. He vocalizes mostly over the slower parts letting the instrumentalists in Internal Bleeding to take the center stage in the faster portions and dazzle us with their abilities. Jerry’s vocals are equal part death grunt and hardcore screams. The grunts aren’t very low, and the screams are not very high pitch, so both styles tend to blend. Bill Tolley’s drums sometimes sound hollow on the snare (Bleed by Example), but the juiciest bass by Andrew Hogan offsets that.

I don’t have the lyrics in front of me, but just looking at the song’s titles and the cover art my guess is the concept is a little less than politically correct. Kudos to that, you say what is on your mind.

In the end, Onward to Mecca panders a little too much to the younger crowd, much more hardcore inclined NYC population. Certainly the precalculated direction, this may keep the old fans on board and get new converts. Truthfully, I wasn’t a fan due to the lack of knowledge, and I am not going to become one here as the style just veers in the ‘core direction way too much. Trying to restrain myself from the Suffo comparisons, inevitably I can’t, so if I only gave 71 to Souls to Deny, this can’t be more than …

Killing Songs :
Infidel, This Day I Fight
Alex quoted 63 / 100
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