The Bled

Silent Treatment

Written by: PP on 26/10/2007 02:25:24

I guess you could've called me a The Bled fan about two or three years ago, back when "Pass The Flask" was still in solid rotation, and the spacier approach on "Found In The Flood" was peculiar and worked wonders for the band's sound.

Much has changed since the review of that record, this site has grown bigger, my music tastes have changed and, perhaps most importantly, I have forgotten that a band called The Bled exists. With minimal touring on this side of the pond and lack of new material in the last two years, the effect that their sublime, at times epic screamo-hardcore on "Pass The Flask" and "Found In The Flood" has faded on me. As such, it's understandable that I found "Silent Treatment" such a tiring listen. It's basically more of the same, with an increased level of intensity and reduced level of epicness. Bombastic slow tracks like "Daylight Bombings" have been omitted almost completely, and when they do come around (see "Asleep On The Frontlines"), they lack that element of surprise, the sudden punch in the face that explodes from the brilliant quiet/loud dynamic. This used to be the strength of the band and has now been removed for two very different approaches.

The first one is the high-octane, pedal to the floor screamo found on tracks like "Shadetree Mechanics" and "Starving Artiste". As Muñoz storms through these type of songs it's difficult not to feel sorry for his vocal chords, which are stretched to their absolute limits at all times. His screams are throatier, and have gained more volume to become even more in-your-face than before, if that's even possible.

The second approach is the cinematic one, where the band attempts to expand from the spacey atmospheric approach of many songs in "Found In The Flood" with little success. Songs like "Breathing Room Barricades" sound too loose, resulting in lost momentum. It's a shame, because some of the guitar licks guitarist Ott throws around are slick, resembling of the complex melodies found on the debut "Pass The Flask".

Occasionally, "Silent Treatment" gets it right, however. A song like "Threes Away" has massive breakdowns which are contrasted by smooth atmospheric passages, where infectious clean vocals arrive from the middle of the nowhere to bring some order into the chaos ensuing. "The Silver Lining" is another one one, where brutal hardcore in the vein of Norma Jean is mixed with a catchy clean vocals and only just enough space to keep the song alive.

But to get three, or depending on your personal opinion, maybe four songs right on an album is hardly enough to convince this reviewer. It's easy to see how "Silent Treatment" is exactly the album the band needed to write to progress as artists, but the real question is, is it really for the better? Listening through the band's back catalog with songs like "I Never Met Another Gemini" on the forefront, I'm tempted to say no.

6

Download: Threes Away, The Silver Lining
For the fans of: Norma Jean, UnderOATH, Fear Before The March Of Flames
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.09.2007
Vagrant

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