The Bled – Found in the Flood
Release Date: August 23, 2005
Record Label: Vagrant Records
2 years ago, The Bled exploded into the scene with their debut full-length entitled Pass the Flask. Produced by Beau Burchell, Pass the Flaskwas an instant hardcore classic. Heavy breakdowns, intelligent lyrics, and ferocious screams earned The Bled a significant amount of respect in both the hardcore and punk communities. 2 years and a new label later, The Bled geared up to release their sophomore effort, Found in the Flood, this time with producer Mark Trombino behind the dials. Trombino is known for his work on more poppy albums, such as The Starting Line and Jimmy Eat World. His trademark style is extremely clean and produced, sometimes too much (TSL’s Say it Like You Mean It) and sometimes just right (Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity.) Needless to say, with Trombino at the helm and Vagrant ready to release the record, a different type of sound was expected from The Bled, and that’s exactly what was received.
First off, Found in the Flood has a lot more singing than Pass the Flask did. Some of you may remember the first track, “Hotel Coral Essex” from a compilation that was released a while back. The Bled have chosen to replace about half of the screaming with chanting/singing, and the screams are far less intense than before. James doesn’t have the world’s greatest voice, but it doesn’t detract from the music too badly. This applies to the rest of the record in general – as a whole, it’s far softer and cleaner than Pass the Flask. But enough with the comparisons - As a separate piece of work, it’s far better than holding it to comparison to the Pass the Flask. I’ll say it once and then dismiss it for good – Found in the Flood is a letdown, and it’s nowhere near Pass the Flask. There it is.
“Guttershark” is the closest this record gets to matching their old sound. A spastic blast of semi-chaotic hardcore, I found this track to be the strongest on the record. Grinding guitars and churning vocals are when The Bled are the strongest. “My Assassin” is the first real song that introduces James’ singing voice. James sings much like Keith Buckley used to for Every Time I Die – constantly out of tune, yet still listenable. (thanks Trombino) Despite the odd transition to singing from a band not known for it, this song, among others, are catchy. It’s not like The Bled has gone completely soft, this and other songs still have The Bled’s trademark breakdowns and dissonant chords. “Millionares” is a very technical song that even manages to throw in some synth effects that really add to the song.
The main flaws with this record come where The Bled attempt to write slower, more progressive songs. “Antarctica” and “Daylight Bombings” are boring songs where James’s voice is grating and the music simply drags. The slower tracks on this album appear to be building up to a grand finale that simply never arrives. As a whole, The Bled comes across as a bit too clean on this record. I don’t like the way the vocals are produced, they seem far too constricted. I have always thought that James has a relatively powerful scream, and I don’t feel like Trombino captured that. Whether by choice or not, The Bled’s insane live show and energy is not fully represented on this record, even though there are songs that should convey much more emotion than they actually do. (“With the Urgency”) Hardcore fans will be upset with parts of this record. Many will be initially let down – I know I was. But after repeated listenings, Found in the Flood is guaranteed to grow on you. There’s an adjustment period to The Bled’s new sound, but once that passes, Found in the Flood is a very worthy effort and deserves to be given a real chance, even if it is a disappointment to some.
This album I find is really well written. I agree with you that "Pass The Flask" is a better album. This album just showed the world the more open minded Bled. Some bands will write a record not for themselves but for the people. Others will write a record to how they like it and hope the others will like it. The Bled is all about themselves. No band should ever write the same album twice. I think the Bled do not want to write the same album twice. That is why "Found in the Flood" is a very well written and artistic album for the Bled. It shows everyone what they have to offer in different styles and kind of throws it in people's faces as to how much art they have in their heads to be able to back up their previous album with a very pulsing new album. Signing with new labels is a factor of a sound change. Take Rise Against. They went from Fat Wreck Chords to Dreamworks and I found their album "Siren Song For The Sounter-Culture" to be more pop/commercial and not a very Rise Against album. They beg to differ as Tim wrote back to me. The Bled have not changed I don't think. I think this was the album they wanted to write before "Pass The Flask". I was not disappointed with this album but I can agree that "Pass The Flask" is still better than "Found in the Flood" I give this record an 8.5/10.
Found in the Flood is not as heavy as Pass The Flask, but that is only a letdown if you are not open-minded. It is extremely creative compared to Pass the Flask, which only had one feel throughout. There are moments that hit just as hard, but in a completely different way. If they found a happy medium between their first two albums, then true fans might be in heaven. This coming from a guy whose band covered 'Spitshine Sonata' almost every show