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Album Reviews

Review: The Bled – Heat Fetish

The Bled – Heat Fetish

Released: March 2nd, 2010
Label: Rise Records
Purchase: iTunes | Amazon

The past year has been tumultuous for The Bled. They were on the brink of calling it a day due to the economic recession putting an ever increasing strain on the financial stability of the band. As a result, all but two members from the unit that brought us Silent Treatment in 2007 remained.

Fortunately, the two remaining members were guitarist and chief songwriter Jeremy, and unmistakable frontman/vocalist James. As such, The Bled have not lost their signature sound and with the inclusion of a whole new line-up, I’d argue that Heat Fetish brings a whole new level of energy and urgency to the band that has not been heard since the debut Pass the Flask.

One of my main concerns was how the band would deal with the departure of drummer Mike Pedicone, whose skills behind the kit throughout The Bled’s discography have been superb. That fear diminished right after the opening track. I’m not sure where they find these drummers, but new sticksman Josh Skibar not only comfortably fills Pedicone’s shoes but also brings his own frantic style to proceedings, which helps make this album an extremely impressive achievement.

Musically, Heat Fetish delivers the staple sound that we’ve come to know and love with The Bled: heavy, down-tuned and aggressive songs with screamed vocals, breakdowns and spasmodic rhythms that traverse through various timings. If you turn your nose up at any of the above, then go no further with this band as it isn’t for you. If however, that sounds like your cup of tea, then trust me you will want to put the kettle on and make yourself a huge pot of it.

As ever, I find myself yet again in awe of James Munoz. There are very few vocalists in this genre that can hold a candle to him and each time I feel that he can’t progress any further with his voice, I’m proven wrong once more. One of my biggest gripes with the hardcore genre is the inability of screamed vocalists to emit any range from their vocals. Most screamers have a guttural shout, or a higher pitched yell, that they stick to throughout their songs, making every song sound repetitive and all too familiar. James has an uncanny ability to surprise you with his vocals, moving from low to high, to shout to clean in any given song. This is what makes The Bled’s music a treat to listen to from one album to the next: you just never know what to expect.

The band tried to mix up their heavy elements with a more melodic edge on sophomore album Found in the Flood but with very mixed results. Scattered throughout this album are fine examples of how the band have developed this side of their music without compromising on the quality. “Meet Me in the Bone Orchard” is a prime example, where they have successfully integrated face-tearing aggression with haunting melody that helps to make Heat Fetish stand-alone as a complete package.

I’ve grown to appreciate every album The Bled have put out, but I’ve not always felt like they’ve achieved a faultless album since the release of their debut Pass the Flask. Something has always stood in the way; be it the production, or the missed attempts at being creative. The last couple of albums have been good, but too precise and polished to feel natural.

8.4

Standout Tracks: “Meet Me in the Bone Orchard”, “Crowbait”, “Smoke Breaks”

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