Scot McFadyen’s 2007 documentary Global Metal confirmed what many fans of the genre already knew to be true; extreme music is a true worldwide pandemic. Modern technology has opened the global metal archives to any initiate hesher with an internet connection, thus allowing a far wider variety of people and cultures to lend their unique and, crucially, diverse growls to metal’s infernal chorus. Cities like Mumbai, Jakarta, and Shanghai are taking their rightful place alongside San Francisco, Bergen, and Birmingham on the list of global metal epicenters. Of course, you can’t talk about the world of metal without mentioning Montreal, my beloved hometown. The city, and the province of Quebec in general, have produced a long list of widely influential bands, including Voivod, Cryptopsy, Neuraxis, Gorguts, Despised Icon, and many, many more. Hell, even the total squares on our city council just passed a resolution recognizing Montreal as as “heavy metal city of excellence.”
As you can imagine, this sets a fairly high bar for local metal acts trying to break through the noise, and hometown thrashers ENIME have demonstrated a valiant effort with Bleeding Out, a clear love letter to Big Four Bay-Area thrash.
A mere twenty seconds into the meaty riff and bombastic lead work of opener “Destiny” is all one needs to see that ENIME’s Big Four love is reserved almost exclusively for Countdown to Extinction-era Megadeth. Guitarist and main song writer Stef Forget’s compositions tightly balance aggression with hook-laden pop sensibility. Even when the band appears to cram in one too many riffs, the overarching song structures, as well as the anchor of a rock solid rhythm section manned by bassist Rob Aisenthal and drummer Eric Mireault, keep the train running straight.
Not to beat the comparison to Deth (heh), Vocalist and lyricist Grey Henson certainly channels the classic Mustaine snarl at times, but thankfully demonstrates considerably more range when pushing his voice into the upper register. Henson’s clean vocals on tracks such as “Fuck You” do lack the conviction he shows elsewhere, but thankfully these passages are few and far between. Also, lead guitarist Phil Forget’s lead on that particular track is so bitching, it fully corrects any misstep.
Lyrically, Bleeding Out does feel a tad emotionally juvenile for a group of fellas who appear to be well out of their teen angst years, but it is entirely possible that English is Henson’s second language, and thus some earnestness can be forgiven.
While some of Bleeding Out’s songs start to blend together over the album’s 44-min runtime, there are some stand out bangers. Title Track “Bleeding Out” Broils with so much NWOBHM swagger that you can almost picture the fireworks and flame cannons blasting off in the arena when the drums kick in. “I Will Not Be A Ghost” builds excellent tension through multiple tempo variations and features some of my favourite riffs on the whole record.
Although it is a relatively minor point, a band as talented and polished as ENIME desperately needs some help in the visuals department, as the cover art and Facebook promo images for Bleeding Out are woefully amateurish. Again, this shit shouldn’t matter if the music is good, but it would be a shame for someone to give ENIME a pass because of a bad first impression.
That said, ENIME have crafted a fine entry in the Montreal metal pantheon and old school thrash fans will find a lot to enjoy in Bleeding Out.
Written by Jesse Gainer
*edited by Kate Erickson