I purchased this from Soleilmoon, who called this a “4AD album.” The only 4AD artist this album comes close to is Dead Can Dance, but it delves far more into the industrial sound than Dead Can Dance ever did.
The real beauty of the album comes from the vocals of Joe Papa. Very monastic and haunting, they lend the right amount of power and spirituality to the music, without losing any sense of the humanity. The music is very bombastic and even exultant, which works quite well. Controlled Bleeding moves with ease from ambient-industrial to neo-classical to even touches of the World Serpent sound. The only misstep is the central track, “Scourge,” which is way too long and unfocused, moving off into the “experimental” side of things. Unfortunately, it takes up almost half of the disc.
I see how some have considered this a “Christian” album because the music is full of allusions to Christ’s suffering. I hesitate to call this some sort of praise album, but it certainly conjures up the appropriate imagery. At times, the music almost reaches a religious frenzy, while at other times, it becomes a stately procession, full of dignity and grace.