"Corrupting Influence"

(Unique Leader)

01. Compelled to Consume
02. Corrupting Influence
03. Fatal Dependency
04. Focus
05. Surrounded from the Inside
06. Unreality
07. Litany of Insincerity
08. Final Justice
09. The Supreme Sacrifice

RATING: 8.5/10

INTERNAL BLEEDING has achieved success over the years where it matters most. The group has been creatively successful since the act's early nineties demo material, and with the absolutely savage debut long player: "Voracious Contempt". But in terms of commercial success, the ball hasn't necessarily always bounced in the favor of the Long Island-based band—relatively speaking. Since we are talking about death metal, this means that many of the bigger artists may occasionally "enjoy" backstage areas that amount to little more than broom closets. Sure, the group is regularly credited as pioneers of the en vogue "slam death metal" movement, but for the bulk of its career, the Long Island-based crew has been regarded as leaders of good, ol' fashioned, brutal American death metal.

With its third album, 1999's "Driven to Conquer", INTERNAL BLEEDING had truly found itself and honed in upon its trademark style and identity. Tough guy guitar chugging is layered atop mid-tempo pummeling, spiced up with occasional bursts of blasting belligerence. INTERNAL BLEEDING, led by guitarist Chris Pervelis, encompasses the direct approach, mentality and style of hardcore as well as a clear appreciation of hip-hop groove. They weren't exceptional or mandatory listening, but the group's follow-up releases to "Driven to Conquer" were solid. And last year, while heroically conducting his activities as a firefighter, founding member and drummer Bill Tolley unfortunately died. In spite of the magnitude of the situation, not only has the band held it together and persevered. "Corrupting Influence" is the best album of its career.

One can only speculate about how the band hit a grand slam, pun intended, this time around since it hasn't significantly tinkered with its formula in years. That isn't to say the group mindlessly run the hamster's wheel to nowhere. It has clearly grown musically, using melodic guitar work to provide more depth and dynamics to its hard-hitting, death metal stylings. The final minute of the title track, for instance, is a prime example of an introspective journey into timeless melodic metal. The increased injection of melody is perfectly balanced within the entirety of "Corrupting Influence". The insertion of melody provides enough variation to keep everything sounding fresh, due to the contrast provided, additionally, the melodies themselves are memorable and interesting on their own. But the filthy grooves and mosh-pit stirring riffs are what INTERNAL BLEEDING is primarily known for, and there is an endless supply on "Corrupting Influence".

INTERNAL BLEEDING has sharpened the blade and the Long Island bruisers are in war mode. "Final Justice" was originally written and recorded last year and released as a single just after Tolley's death. Here it has been rerecorded for the new album in a way that carries Tolley's role and spirit forward in an overt sense. And another old, familiar INTERNAL BLEEDING figure rears its ugly head: Frank Rini—whose barbaric, gurgling vocals graced both "Voracious Contempt" and "The Extinction of Benevolence"—appears on "Litany of Insincerity". What's more, Rini filled in for vocalist Joe Marchese on the recent, initial tour in support of "Corrupting Influence".

It's an impressive feat for any aggressive band to remain potent and relevant decades into its career, to say the least. But INTERNAL BLEEDING has indeed done something impressive by striking gold and releasing the band's best album over a quarter of a century after its first rumblings.


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