Sound — 7
Like Every Time I Die's crunchy, somewhat tightly wound metalcore? Then there's absolutely no reason you won't dive right into The Bled's hot and sweaty Heat Fetish and emerge from the wreckage happy that you did. The album is unabashedly in your face; it comes on strong out of the gate, as though the band hasn't been flying a wee bit under the scene's radar over the past few years; they last released an album in 2007 with Silent Treatment. They boast an almost entirely new lineup, with vocalist James Munoz and guitarist Jeremy Ray Talley being the only long-term members of the band that have been in the band since before 2009. Despite the line up shifts and having to recruit several new members to replace departing ones, which is always a stressful experience for a band, as influences, actual playing an chemistry changes as the players do, The Bled and Heat Fetish kick a whole world of ass. Mouthbreather and Running Through Walls move with urgency and intensity, as if the members of The Bled won't survive unless these songs fall out of them. The album certainly is not reinventing the metalcore wheel, but regardless, it's a decent entry into the metalcore marketplace, one that's worthy of a listen to while pumping iron or moving on a treadmill. Need New Conspirators is a bit slower and gloomier than the rest of the record, but it stands on its own.
Lyrics — 7
There's an infectious and addictive singalong on Devolver that has a harmony I can't shake every single time I listen to it. Screamer Munoz tosses of an impassioned delivery and he doesn't attempt much of a clean style, which is often a hallmark of bands like The Bled. He's very much like Every Time I Die's Keith Buckley in the way he uses his instrument. He lets out some vicious roars on Smoke Breaks and most of his lyrical declarations are discernable, as he doesn't employ too much of an un-understandable growl. When he screams about needing something to believe, we want to believe, too.
Overall Impression — 7
Metalcore is on the decline, so to speak. While it's still a healthy scene, there aren't as many bands being pumped out as there were in, say, 2007. But The Bled always had some sort of coolness that allowed them to stand out from the pack and Heat Fetish finds the band still in fine form. Old fans will dig this, as will new ones. It's good to see that the band didn't give up when the going got tough and it sounds like they channeled that into Heat Fetish.