Internal Bleeding

Onward to Mecca

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Along with bands like Suffocation and Pyrexia, New York's Internal Bleeding helped establish the Northeast American seaboard's death metal template -- ugly, crusty, bottom-heavy, and almost completely melody free -- during the 1990s. Not exactly rife with possibilities, this template not surprisingly led to limited success and rather erratic, breakup-makeup-breakup career paths for most of the above-cited culprits -- and Internal Bleeding was no exception. So much so that 2004's Onward to Mecca is only the band's fifth album in a ten-year span (fourth if you consider that 2001's Alien Breed featured old demos), but that can partly be blamed on its arriving three years late due to legal wrangling with different record labels. Unfortunately, the album's mostly unimaginative, repetitive, and downright monotonous contents do little to explain any sort of competition for the band's services, as they generally storm by without much to latch onto. Whereas Suffocation at least compensate for their harmony deficiencies with awe-inspiring technicality, Internal Bleeding's short, undifferentiated songs usually seem to come from nowhere before heading right back there. Even when good, recognizable riffs manage to make their presence known on tracks like "Bleed by Example," "Far Above You," and "This Day I Fight," it's for mere seconds -- hardly long enough to impress or help them stand out from the overall dirge. Really, there's a lot worse death metal to be found out there, and if this minimalist school is your particular cup of tea, more power to ya. But with so much inventiveness running rampant in death metal these days, it's hard not to view Internal Bleeding as operating in a long-surpassed niche mired in long-surpassed anachronisms.

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