Friday, June 4, 2010

The Bled - Pass the Flask (2003)

The Bled is the story of a band that started with their best foot forward, and then tripped and broke their ankle and were never able to recover. Back in 2003 The Bled's 'Pass the Flask' set the standard for metalcore. At the time the concept of metalcore was fairly (in a relative sense) new. There were not a lot of metalcore bands around, to put it this way, if you were to go to warped tour there might be 3...4 sets where you could see a breakdown. Nowadays you can't walk 10 ft without hearing 'dum....dumdumdum dumm......dumdummm......dumdumdum dummm.' So while 'Pass the Flask' holds up as a great metalcore album today, back in 2003 it was THE metalcore album. Two years later the band released 'Found in the Flood', which was the most disappointing release I've ever had the displeasure of purchasing. "It's The Bled's new album, it's gotta be epic, right?" WRONG. They took everything that was great about Pass the Flask and threw it in the garbage, instead opting for the generic, bland, uninspired Screamo sound of the time. Even IF they were going to change their sound, they could have done it so much better, it feels like no effort was put into Found in the Flood, if there was it was just finding new ways to make it more 'mainstream'. It is, in my opinion, the Definitive "Sell Out" album. 2007 brought us 'Silent Treatment' which felt like damage control, they re-embraced their heavy side and combined it with the new sound of Found in the Flood, what came out It sounds the same as the swarm of other Metalcore acts out right now, they don't do a single thing to stand out from the pack. The Bled might be happy being just an 'average' band, but I'll always be disappointed. They could have been up there with Everytime I Die, but they opted for the easier route. It's a shame....a damn shame.

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HORSE The Motherfucking Band Motherfucker!

HORSE the Band is one of the few bands that I loved when I was 16 and love even more today. Having grown up on Super Nintendo, a band who had dubbed themselves 'nintendocore' instantly caught my attention. As was customary back then I went to their Purevolume and listened to everything they had up, which was 3 songs, "Cutsman", "Birdo", and "The Black Hole". Now, at this point in my life I was a complete Scenester, I listened to Saosin, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and basically worshipped UnderOath(no pun intended...wait, yes there was), to me 'heavy' meant that the lead singer screamed more than he sang. I was standing ankle deep on the shores of the Beach when HORSE the Band came in like a Tidalwave and swept we into the depths of Heavy Music. I knew I liked it, but I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what I was listening to, my ears weren't able to pick up on just how truly amazing the music was. Cutsman instantly became my favorite song, The Black Hole was high on my list as well, but 'Birdo' was a little too out there for my tastes at the time. Nevertheless I bought Both The Mechanical hand and R Borlax, the bands two Releases to date. The Mechanical Hand was instantly accesible to me, I enjoyed listening to it start to finish, even if there were some parts of it I didn't 'get'. R Borlax was completely different story, other than Cutsman, the entire thing was incomprehensible to me, it was too fast, too heavy, I couldn't catch the rhythm of any song so it just all sounded like noise to me. Now, lets skip ahead about 3 years, HORSE the Band has released two more full lengths and one EP. The now musically literate me has now appreciated every tiny reason why The Mechanical Hand was so Perfect, appreciated 'Pizza EP' for the fact that even when making songs about something as ridiculous as 'Pizzarrhea in the Pizzaria' they won't fail to deliver musical brilliance, found 'A Natural Death' to have its shining moments and its shortcomings, and saw that 'Desperate Living' showed off that these guys will always find ways to be original yet still sound exactly like HTB should. Despite the greatness of the rest of this bands Discography, those memories of being sonically obliterated by R Borlax still lingered somewhere, stopping me from giving it the listen through it so rightfully deserved. After a friend of mine was talking about how amazing R Borlax was I decided that I HAD to give this album a shot, I mean, it's horse the band, I should be able to appreciate it now right? Right!? Right!!!!!!!!! I understand now why I couldn't handle this album before, it is one of the most intense Mathcore Albums I've ever listened to. And after the initial shock of how great it was set in, the realization that this was their FIRST album set in. R Borlax set the Standard for technical intricacy, and every album after that lives up that standard, in its own unique way. HORSE the Band is the best mathcore band making music today, a lot of people are blinded by the label 'nintendocore' or by Lord Golds amazing synth riffs to realize the glory of the 4 other members of this band, and it's probably that reason why these guys aren't hailed in the same light as bands like Dillinger, but thats okay, because the members of HORSE the Band don't give a shit, they're happy doing what they're doing, going where they want to go, even going so far as to book 'earth tour' and travel to every corner of the world, including africa, china, and every other place bands never even consider travelling to, just because they wanted to see the world. On top of all that, what other band do you know has the balls to name a song after themselves? Anyone else chant their Name during a breakdown and finish off with "HORSE THE MOTHERFUCKING BAND MOTHERFUCKER!" Can you honestly think of any? No? That's because HORSE the Band is just...they're just the best. You should listen.

Download Discography (1st half)

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Heroshima - Through Hell and High Water (2009)

Bands like Heroshima are rare. There are a lot of heavy bands, but most of them will fall into either the Metalcore or Mathcore niches, meaning, they're either too focused on double bass and heavy chugging or they're too focused on showing off how technical and fast they can play. Heroshima says fuck that, we dont like metal and we don't need to play 5 beats a bar to sound original. Heroshima is Hardcore. They play straight forward, fast paced stop and go rhythyms to create their brand of heaviness. They've got breakdowns, but like the rest of their songs their fast paced and will come and go before you realize what hit you. They've also got a kind of southern rock feel to them, I can't explain why, I don't even listen to any Southern Rock, I just think 'this has a southern feel' when I listen. If you still don't grasp what i'm trying to get at, think of it this way, Heroshima would be the perfect opening act to an Everytime I Die show.

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