Young fans of heavy music could likely bring their crusty older sibling to Left Behind's tour with Terror and Bent Life this month and find an enjoyable compromise; vocalist Zachary Hatfield's scratchy vocal charisma in chemistry with the band's groovy, metal-influenced riffs recalls veterans Crowbar — except showcased in a hardcore setting. It's a chemistry found all over new album Blessed by the Burn.
First single "Tough Love" and album opener "West by God" feature honest ("I wish I was the one to bleed") and confrontational lyricism ("Left Behind, you fucking bitch!") from Hatfield, respectively. That vulnerability doesn't result in a sacrifice to the band's aggressive and crunchy tone, though. The heaviest moments of Blessed by the Burn process like a traumatizing trip to the dentist.
The noisy, experimental moments of the record ("Twenty Four") are interesting, but are situated poorly amidst the doom-filled heaviness that is generally Left Behind's focus. The title track and "Burn Out," though, make for excellent middle and conclusive footnotes of Blessed by the Burn, a promising full-length album crowded with dark, angry hardcore/metal songs written by a young band with lots to get off their chests. (Unbeaten Records)