Two years had passed since Brandan Schieppati got his last tattoo-a silhouette on his side of Rocky Balboa—and Bleeding through's acerbic singer didn't have any immediate plans to get more ink. then, in early June, a phone call with his manager about the band's upcoming European tour left him rankled. At the time, Bleeding through was having trouble scraping together enough money for the plane tickets. Schieppati claims their label, Trustkill records, hadn't paid them in ages, and the release of their fourth album, Declaration, was in limbo since the company lacked funds and hadn't even paid the band's producer.
Schieppati had dealt with similar frustration in the past by getting tattoos, such as the "still pissed" on his right arm and the "O.C." on his stomach. so, before a show in San Diego, he called a friend at Fullerton California's classic tattoo and asked him to show up at the venue with his gear. By the time schieppati stepped onstage to perform, he had the letters "FTW" inked across the fingers of his left hand.
"It's a big old reminder to always fuck the world," the singer says from a coffee shop he's ducked into before the band's show in Baltimore. "Over the last year or so, we've dealt with an endless string of broken promises, which makes it harder to do this band. But that just makes us go, ‘Fuck the world. We're going to find a way.'"
The aggravations that motivated Schieppati's "FTW" tattoo also burn through Declaration, Bleeding through's heaviest, fastest, most confrontational release to date. Along with hardcore vocals and churning thrash rhythms, Schieppati, guitarists Brian Lepke and Jona Weinhofen, bassist ryan Wombacher, drummer Derek Youngsma, and keyboardist Marta have ramped up the black metal elements in their music, including infernal blast beats, fleet-fingered guitar runs, and orchestral organ swells. and the lyrics of songs like "Sellers Market" and "Beneath the Grey"—which both attack the music industry—sound as infuriated as a soaked cat. their peers Avenged Sevenfold and Atreyu may have developed commercial aspirations, but Bleeding through have grown to value personal expression over mainstream acceptance now more than ever.
"A lot of people thought we were going to write a heavy rock record tailor-made for radio play, but that's never been our goal," Schieppati explains. "We want people to hear us, but we don't want to be recognized everywhere we go. We're not fucking rock stars."