Review Summary: The Bled releases an album that shows off a renewed vigor, Every Time I Die comparisons be Damned!
After releasing their third full-length, Silent Treatment
in 2007, The Bled decided to stop touring. This decision turned into a colossal turning point for the band, as the band members soon fell into debt. In order to pay off their debts, members of the band either had to play in other bands or get regular jobs. As a result of this, founding members Russ Ott (guitar) and Mike Pedicone (drums) left the band, as well as bassist Darren Simoes, who joined the band in 2004. The Bled was forced to recruit three new members, and, on top of that, were dropped from Vagrant Records. Still, after all this, The remaining members of The Bled as well as the new recruits pushed on and created an album that stands with the best of anything The Bled has done.
“Devolver” kick-starts the album, with dissonant chords and vocals from James Muñoz, which, yes, sounds a lot like Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die. The comparison with Keith Buckley is not necessarily unfounded, as there are similarities, however Muñoz has his own voice, especially when singing as opposed to his guttural screams. The best showcase of this is “Meet Me in the Bone Orchard,” which does a better job of showing of Muñoz’s vocal talents than most of the other songs.
This album ultimately rests on the shoulders of its two guitarists, and, for the most part, they succeed. The dissonance of the guitars is prevalent the entire album, with the numerous tapping passages that The Bled has become known for. When the guitar work is at it's best is when the band is going all out, because the guitarists show off their technicality and speed, yet not going outside or disregarding of the song-writing and structure. The drumming is also strong, while never being fantastic. The new drummer, Josh Skibar, knows his way around a kit and also seems more than capable to keep up with the more mathy elements of The Bled’s sound.
The problem with the album is that the songs flow and bleed together, which makes it so few of the songs stand out, fantastic or terrible. The one song that stands above the rest though, is “Need New Conspirators.” Showcasing the precarious balance of the all out aggression of songs like, “Running Through Walls” and the beautiful melodies of “Crawling Home” to create a song the whips you around, knocks you down, and licks your wounds, all with the feeling that the world could end at any moment. It is one of the few true highs on an album that for the most part stays at an above average flow, without too many peaks, but what comes with that is that there are very few troughs, nothing that feels like a huge misstep.
Throughout Heat Fetish
’s forty minutes, The Bled is shown as a band that knows who they are, and what kind of music they want to make. Comparisons with Every Time I Die will be there after this album, but The Bled has carved out their own niche in the over-crowded post-hardcore/metalcore genre that they straddle. This album may do nothing to silence their detractors, but previous fans will be pleased by The Bled’s focus on this newest album, one that many fans feared would never come to fruition. If the plan was to prove Vagrant Records made a mistake in dropping The Bled, then they succeeded without a doubt.