Review Summary: Don't count your chickens before they become a hardcore band and rock.
I find this to be very much a diamond in the rough album. I wasn't expecting great things, but I got them. I was amazingly shocked at what I held before me in this musically diverse and expansive hardcore. The Bled cross into territories untread and still manage to dwell within a certain niche. I think this surpasses Pass the Flask in it's creativity and still gives you the heaviness a lot of Found in the Flood was lacking. It's the perfect blend of the two and so much more. Excellent album. 4.5/5
Shadetree Mechanics is an amazingly strong opener. I absolutely love how dirty the singer's vocals are; very much a yell rather than a scream, but it works so well. The intro is very heavy and groovy at the same time. The beat on the majority of the song just keeps my head bobbing. It has amazing energy. And the riffs change enough to keep you interested in the new flavors they might add to the end of a certain verse. Then there is the breakdown. Gotta love it. It's one of the main reasons I love hardcore. Breakdowns are key and Shadetree Mechanics has got the goods. The bassist's tone is nasty, low, dirty, and just gives this song a depth beyond the usual attempt by the bled. 5/5
You Should Be Ashamed of Myself is a very good, high energy song. Lots of dissonant chords that work well. I love the fact that the prechorus riff is basically a breakdown, but cleans up toward the end, then changes up and follows up with a much lighter, catchy chorus. Then, the fact that the Bled got their breakdowns out in the song, they decided to refreshingly skip the breakdown at the end, and leave you trailing with some nice dissonance. 4.5/5
Threes Away is another high energy, fast paced whirlwind that the Bled have so easily perfected. The vocals accentuate the riffing guitars well. Each one's chaos almost feeding the other, culminating in a drop. Yes, a drop. Into a very nice, airy bridge. Lighter than your typical hardcore band, but then they, also just as easily, kick it back into some great chorus action. Oh and yes Mr. Moshgoer, you will not be disappointed. The breakdown is very killer. You can dance your little hearts out at the end of this one, right into some very ambient synth. 4/5
Asleep on the Frontlines starts in a way that you would almost think to skip this song, but do not reach for that skip quite yet. The Bled go into some great new territory. A very pleasing, very smooth intro that last quite a while, but still never bores you, misleads you into thinking this is just a throw away track. But no. 2:13 and you get slammed into a wall. Leads into this classic, eerie, fantastic breakdown. All the great dissonance and heavy chugs you'd expect in a amazingly interesting, dance-till-you-drop breakdown. Throw that into some extremely well done clean vocals, mixed with screams, back into another breakdown?! Slow down there, Bled Boys, I'm still recouperating from the first. This song leaves you reeling from the unexpected one-two in the 12th round. Don't count this out because it ends up being one of the best tracks on the album. 5/5
Platonic Sleepover MAssacre is for you old school Bled fans. Very weird riffs, with weird timings and counts. All well done, but still spiced up with some new Bled and this, surprisingly good, falsetto that the singer pulls off. This has the greatness of Pass the Flask, with (obviously) much better production and, in my opinion, a more creative band. They have grown and this song shows that they can both be just heavy like the old days, but still write well thought out, interesting, and most of all diverse, songs. But, yea, I'll admit it, I love it because I love heavy. And who can argue when they just do it THIS well? 5/5
Starving Artiste is a perfect follow up to Platonic Sleepover Massacre. Very short, fast, heavy, and hard. Lots of good, quick guitar noodling, lots of screams. You know how it's done here. Done right, so you just want to throw yourself into someone for no reason what-so-ever. There isn't much else to say on this other than it just is a great Bled song.
The Silver Lining is very chaotic, and almost a bit much for me. The intro is one of those riffs that is for musicians and an "interesting" riff, but just isn't that fun to listen to. Then it, oddly, kicks into some clean. I think this song was just pieced together weird. I can hear almost a switch go on when they switch from the majority of the song (The heavy chaos) into the chorus (clean and catchy). It doesn't sound the same. It was one of the very few downpoints to the record, but it wasn't horrible at all. Just kind of stop-and-go. 3.5/5
Some Just Vanish is a great song for the singer to give you a glimpse into his sort of mid-yell-sing, where he isn't quite even yelling, but can still have pitch with it, and mix it up with his screams. But the mid range really shines. The guitars could have been a little more interesting in parts, but where they were simple, I feel like the drums made up for it, because they were on point in this song. Kept me groovin' the whole time. But for the most part, all parts were very well done, and well written. Of course, the breakdown is good. 4/5
Breathing Room Barracades is my favorite track on the record, and really my favorite song by the Bled. The singing was done extremely well. On pitch, creative melodies, lots of range. Fantastic mix of screaming and singing, switched at all the right parts. The guitars were also phenomenal. The whole verse is just rockin' beyond belief. I get into this song more than any other on the album. It just goes from these catchy, well written verse, straight into just heavy, fast, and ballsy part, then back into the chorus which makes me sing along every time. There is no bad part to this song. It adds some very airy, heavily reverbed guitar, with tones that they just have never used before and it worked out SO well. The singer goes into the falsetto in this song too, and nails it again. Oh, and the breakdown? Epic. But you knew that already. This one is particularly epic, and just fits so well. The deliberately off-beat guitar is just the icing on the cake. This song makes the record for me. If I could give it a 6/5 I would. 5/5
Beheaded My Way is just a very solid song, but almost leaves you wanting more after Breathing Room Barricades. Almost. The chorus just has me rockin' regardless of what I just heard. This song kicks and doesn't stop the whole time. The verse is both creative and nostalgic of old Bled at the same time. It's definitely different, but you can hear classic Bled still coming through. And call me a sucker, but I love a good chant now and then. Maybe it's because I'm old fashioned. Good, solid, rockin' song. 4.5/5
My Bitter Half is a little disappointing as an ending, I have to say. It isn't a bad song, but the last song on an album has always got to leave you just drooling for the next song, salivating at the very mention of a recording studio. But this doesn't really get that done. But like I said, it isn't bad. It's okay. Has it's heavy moments, but even though its over 3 minutes, the song feels like there isn't much there and then it just ends. I wish they would have put Breathing Room Barricades last, would have made the end of the CD have that hunger for more. The breakdown is good, but just not enough. 3.5/5