In the midst of the most unforgiving and unpredictable period of my life, I find myself on another partly cloudy yet sunny day in the Swiss Alps of Lucerne, writing a review of “Hellbent.” This song is by Bridges Ablaze, the project of a talented duo from Austin, Texas: Brien Allen and Ruben Zamora. While I see room for improvement in their work, I count myself as a supporter of these young gentlemen in their challenging journey, having been introduced to their music a few months ago.
First and foremost, “Hellbent” stands out and deserves appreciation for its world-class production with similar standards to high-end productions of genre-leading bands we know from mainstream metalcore. Although I am not a producer nor a sound engineer myself, I perceive it as a production-quality-based work with massive commercial potential. The precision in the sound design is a testament to the collective’s main strengths, which I can also confirm by the current success of the song on digital platforms such as YouTube and Spotify. The sound character has modern and mainstream characteristics in its foundation while providing the necessary strength and room for metal instrumentation. In summary, the djent/metalcore instrumentation of two talented guitarists is complemented by cinematic music production, turning the song into a well-produced modern metal character. From a commercial perspective, it is professionally planned, masterfully executed, and a perfect fit for today’s mainstream metal.
Secondly, the musical origins of the song blend familiar influences from commercial, alternative, modern metalcore, and djent metal. This immediately brings to mind bands like Linkin Park, 30 Seconds To Mars, and Architects. Among the mainstream qualities of all these direct influences, you can hear masterfully crafted duo vocals by Brien Allen and Ruben Zamora, incorporating melodic and rap elements reminiscent of Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda. Furthermore, the band capitalizes on the stylish and classy approach of 30 Seconds To Mars and the well-produced post-modern melodic metalcore understanding of Architects. The decisive moment for me was hearing the guitar solo section at the end of the song, proving that Bridges Ablaze isn’t just like other bands that only make music in front of a computer.