Published May 28, 2018Orange County metalcore trailblazers Bleeding Through stepped away from the stage for what was supposed to be the last time in 2014, but four short years later, the band have been resurrected for their eighth studio album, Love Will Kill All. While fans have been eagerly anticipating their return since rumours of their comeback began, vocalist Brandan Schieppati says he's shocked with the overwhelmingly positive response.
"Honestly, the last four years of our band's existence, it felt like we were forgotten about," he tells Exclaim! "I've never felt that we were properly respected for what we actually did as far as pioneering a genre of music."
The band were a prominent part of the new wave of American heavy metal along with acts like Lamb of God, Eighteen Visions, Killswitch Engage and more, but never received the record label support they saw their peers enjoying. As the music industry embraced new promotional methods like social media, Bleeding Through fell behind and lost momentum they had been building for a decade.
"We thought the old way was still fine, but it wasn't. It was the modern age of everything at your fingertips and people want what's new now, and if you don't keep up with content, you get forgotten about," says Schieppati.
Bleeding Through weren't just falling behind with how the music business was operating though. Responsibilities at home eventually caught up with them and they began to feel dissatisfied with a lack of balance in their lives. Band members started having kids, getting married, starting businesses and finding other endeavours they wanted to explore; continuing with Bleeding Through full time was holding them back.
"Our issue was really that we wanted to pursue other things, and we wanted to be responsible. We felt like taking away our obligation to Bleeding Through was the one way that we could actually start accomplishing those things," says Schieppati. "If we wanted to just stay done, we would've been fulfilled and just stayed done."
Although Bleeding Through are moving forward with a more relaxed approach than before, they've given up none of the qualities that made them who they are. Schieppati says every time the band were preparing to release a new album, people expected them to write a more straightforward rock record because of the direction many of their peers took, but they've always felt an obligation to stick to their roots.
"That was everybody else's path in Orange County, because if you look at the history of bands like Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, Eighteen Visions, Throwdown — they all turned into rock'n'roll bands. That's just not us. We felt responsibility and we felt pride in that we built the metalcore genre, and more of a metal scene here in Orange County," says Schieppati.
While Schieppati feels a responsibility to write Bleeding Through material that matches the standards their fans have come to expect, he also finds it cathartic. The vocalist says his lyrics on Love Will Kill All were inspired by deeply personal events that have happened to him over the past four or five years.
"I've been bipolar since I was 14, but I've kept it a secret from my band up until about 2013, so a lot of lyrical content is sort of dealing with that aspect of my life and how it's been a daily battle."
Schieppati's mental health struggle was compounded when he went through a divorce during the band's break. This left him feeling alone as many of his friends distanced themselves from him, not understanding how to handle the situation.
"When I sat at my house thinking about killing myself for 30 straight days, and I didn't have anybody to call, everybody I was texting was telling me how disappointed in me they were because of something that had nothing to do with them. It was one of those things where I didn't really understand and that left a lot of bitterness for me," says Schieppati.
The band took their time to write and record the new album, sporadically recording parts of Love Will Kill All over the course of about six months. They also delayed the release of the new record because Schieppati's former band, Eighteen Visions, were planning a comeback album around the same time Bleeding Through's writing process began.
"I remember collectively talking with everybody in the band, and we wanted to give them their 15 minutes and slow down on our process, so we could have our proper thing as well. We didn't want it to be Eighteen Visions is here and now Bleeding Through is here; we wanted to give Eighteen Visions their time."
Bleeding Through's hiatus was relatively short compared to other bands, lasting only four years, with a one-off reunion in the middle. In 2016, the band headlined a benefit show to help the Ghost Inside after they were involved in a serious bus accident that has left them on the sidelines to this day. Schieppati says that the reunion show didn't necessarily cause the band to go forward with their comeback, but it did speed the process up.
"I feel like the reasons why we even disbanded are a bit different than most bands. Most bands disband because, well, look at it this way — why they really disband is because they reach a point where they're older and don't make enough money doing what they do," says Schieppati.
Prior to the beginning of their farewell tour, Schieppati released a statement where he aired many of the problems that contributed to Bleeding Through's downfall. From diehard fans turning their backs on the band, to other artists creating unhealthy competition, and music industry executives pushing the competition and reaping the benefits without putting in much work themselves, it wasn't worth it for the band to ignore their lives outside of the band anymore.
The vocalist explains that once he started learning how to run a business while working on his gym, Rise Above Fitness, he saw how much the band were being taken advantage of.
"The last three or four years of our band everybody was making money off of Bleeding Through except for the band. We were being treated sort of like a stepping stone, [to] take younger bands out on tour, and it was almost like these managers would hope that the bands would get bigger so Bleeding Through would just go away."
Despite the fact that Bleeding Through are very happy to be back, it's highly unlikely they will ever be a full-time touring act again. Schieppati says he would love to go on a full tour now, but going through all of the hardships they've already experienced wouldn't be worth it for everyone involved.
"I think as much as I would love to go on a tour, we're going to be very happy planning weekends together where can go to a certain region and play three shows in a row and head home," says Schieppati. "I think we'll record something else and we might just keep recording records until we die," he laughs.
Love Will Kill All is out now on SharpTone.