Metal band bleeding through to SLC

By By Trevor Hale

By Trevor Hale

As a lifelong metal lover and die-hard Slayer fan, Bleeding Through guitarist Brian Leppke jumped at the chance to hit the road alongside his idols last summer. “Slayer is one of my favorite bands of all time,” said Leppke, “Touring with them was a dream come true.”

The dream wasn’t all fun and games, though.

“A band like Slayer is notorious for having some pretty closed-minded fans when it comes to openers, but we really didn’t get any disrespect,” Leppke said. “There would be longhairs in the front flipping us off when we started but then head banging after a few songs.”

Knowing it had some work cut out for it fueled the band’s nightly battles with the legions of pentagram-sporting, flesh-carving metalheads.

“To win the respect of Slayer fans was the ultimate goal for that tour and I think that we accomplished that,” Leppke said.

Formed eight years ago, in Orange County, Calif., Bleeding Through posed a chance for then-Eighteen Visions guitarist Brandan Shieppati to move over to lead vocals. Having been in hardcore bands most of his life, he was aching to get back to his roots in metal. He enlisted Leppke and a few others to get things going and even went as far as adding a keyboard to the mix. The band’s penchant for finding melodic moments to inter-cut its furious metal riffs is what placed them a step above fellow Orange County imitators Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold.

The band has always been up for a challenge, which is why it continues to take part in tours and shows that wouldn’t normally be associated with its fast-paced and brutal sound. Opening for Slayer and Marilyn Manson was one such occasion, and prior to that, the band had been direct support for Senses Fail. Constantly touring has also helped Bleeding Through gradually become one of the biggest metal acts in the industry and the band is no stranger to Salt Lake City. Bleeding Through is one of the few bands that has been through Salt Lake City enough to play nearly every DIY venue (and there’s been many) that we have had to offer.

“We’ve been coming there a long time,” Leppke said. “The first time we played there was with Eighteen Visions at Kilby Court. We’d heard all these stories about Salt Lake hardcore and how crazy it was. Then we show up and dudes are moshing in hockey masks and just killing each other. That was sick.”

He recalls one of his most memorable moments in Salt Lake City as being when the band played with infamous hardcore act Bad Luck 13 at the old Junction. Leppke looked out into the crowd and saw someone stalking around with a meat cleaver in one hand and a hammer in the other.

Lately, Bleeding Through’s goal has been to spread it signature metal style as far as possible. In early October, the band made the trek north to play two shows in Alaska — one in Fairbanks and another in Anchorage.

“Alaska was really cool,” Leppke said. “It’s just so isolated. The kids there really appreciate a band coming up to play. And seeing moose walking the streets was amazing.”

Having played the majority of the United States (Hawaii, too) as well as Australia, Europe and Japan, the band now has its sights set on bigger goals.

“I think we’re on a quest to play everywhere in the world,” Leppke said. “We’re working on Russia and Indonesia right now.”

The band’s current tour has it opening for frequent Viva La Bam guest stars HIM and so far nothing akin to meat cleavers and hockey masks has been glimpsed from the stage.

“Everyone that comes to these shows is here to have a good time and it’s a real positive attitude,” Leppke said. “A lot of these people have never heard anything like us before and it kind of catches them off guard. But to stand out like that on a bill is always a good thing.”

Bleeding Through will take the stage at Salts Lake City’s In the Venue this Saturday — just remember to watch out for stray meat cleavers.

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