Review: The Bled – Heat Fetish

Artist: The Bled
Album: Heat Fetish
Genre: Post-Hardcore
Label: Rise

It’s been early three years since The Bled have blessed the music industry with new material and that’s far too long in my book. In that time, founding members James Muñoz [vocals] and Jeremy Talley [guitar] replaced 60% of the band, worked day/odd jobs to pay bills, and found a new home at Rise Records. Now with new cohorts and more drive than ever before The Bled re-emerge like phoenix from the depths of the sun with their fourth studio album which hits stores March 9th, Heat Fetish.

Wasting no time going for the jugular of modern heavy music, “Devolver” serves as a stepping stone to the post-hardcore resurrection that Heat Fetish becomes over the course of its twelve tracks. The fury with which not only the band, but Muñoz’ vocals attack has such urgency in each and every line that you can’t help but be fully engulfed by the time assured future fan favorite “Running Through Walls” begins. Instead of going full-on, 100% heavy throughout, The Bled focus a lot more on the technical side of their craft [while keeping the chugs plentiful] with guitars that seem to be nearly swirling throughout the entire record, breaking only momentarily for epic, mosh pit inducing chugs like that found in “Smoke Breaks.” However, as a perfect example of their technical side coming through, “Need New Conspirators,” the very next track, has one of the most eerie buildups I’ve heard in a while before driving drums with force of a freight train come crashing through with brings the rest of the group along for the ride.

While the genius song structures will have you coming back again and again, what really takes Heat Fetish to an all new level are the equally well crafted lyrics of James Muñoz. Having spent the last couple years mainly off the road and back in touch with the day-to-day reality of common men and women everywhere, there’s an undeniable sincerity to every word that comes through speakers. No longer are The Bled a road worn band writing songs that mainly came into being as a result of endless highway and smoke-filled clubs. Instead, it seems their sources have become the trials of everyday life and man’s eternal search for something more. Almost relentlessly on the record we find metaphors for religion and salvation [in many form] and its this kind of honest songwriting that finds The Bled correcting all the recent [neon influenced] post-hardcore wrongs. Anyone who doubts this need look no further than the massive one-two punch of “Night Errors” and “Crawling Home” which finds the band traversing some of their most expansive sounds yet with jaw dropping success as Muñoz tears his throat to shreds screaming lines like, “don’t ask me what I am becoming, something that you cannot comprehend.”

The Bled have rewritten the book on post-hardcore with Heat Fetish. Somehow, by losing 60% of the initial group, The Bled have found their way back to the scene defining sound of their earlier work, but more refined and technical than ever. Even after 12 plays in its entirety, I still find myself hard-pressed to find a single measure of this record I don’t want to hear again. This isn’t just a great record for a genre gone awry, but a great record for modern hardcore in general. The intensity and skill displayed by the Bled on Heat Fetish is something few bands ever achieve but constantly strive for – don’t miss experiencing it for yourself.

Score. 9.5/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Joseph

    Agreed!! Great review. Already pre-ordered the album.

  • Spartacus

    Entire album is solid. “Smoke Breaks” is the standout track for me.

  • Peter I don’t see your point, I do think he is completely right in this article

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