CD Review: Metal act lacks luster

The Gypsy Tea room plays host to California metal group Bleeding Through March 25, as the group tours in support of its third studio album “The Truth.” The new album and the upcoming show are sure to take listeners back to high school — a time when the budding metalhead was far less discerning and willing to buy into the “different” trends.

In that high school spirit, the best way to describe the album is by analogy: Bleeding Through is to metal as 98 Degrees is to pop music. They are just another example of a throwaway group that caters to a very specific niche genre with a generic sound and flashy packaging.

This becomes evident the moment you pick up the CD case to discover the typical “band covered in blood” photos in the jacket. In this case, the pictures look like a warped Gap commercial as tattooed models pose for black and white photos with massive chunks ripped out of their bodies. The text in the jacket changes direction and size in some sort of failed attempt to look like Mark Z. Danielewski’s “House of Leaves” – which, at least in my high school, was required reading for the so-called counterculture.

From the first growling scream, the unoriginal elements from a variety of metal bands begin to come out. Elements from bands ranging from Dream Theater to Hatebreed are littered throughout the album. Ironically, the band’s Web site refers to the album as “trend-proof middle finger toward the glut of oversaturation that threatens to destroy a scene this band helped to build.”

In spite this, the album vacillates between percussive and melodic sounds in a fairly artful way. It is clear that, musically, the group knows how to play even if it is not very unique.

The group is strongest when it allows the guitars, keyboard and vocals to coalesce into a discernible melody; however, it also could be mistaken for a metal version of My Chemical Romance when it does. During these sections, vocalist Brandan Schieppati shows that he is capable of more than destroying his vocal chords. It would be better for everyone if he would just sing a bit more – and this is coming from a Pantera fan.

It could be that in my early 20s, I am too old to appreciate the heavier metal bands and their sense of style. But more likely, the band needs to take a serious look in the mirror before railing against following metal trends.