The Bled - Pass The Flask (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Bled

Pass The Flask (2003)


Borrowing liberally from Converge, and the "Songs to Fan the Flames"-era Refused, and infusing it with an eerie sense of melody, Pass the Flask is a real accomplishment. The band dabbles with severe tempo changes, moving from over the top chaos to ringing guitars and mumbled vocals, all without falling into the dreaded emo-core trap. To put it in perspective, if most emo-core is crying on the phone to your ex-girlfriend, this is screaming alone in your room and planning your revenge.

Mixing tongue-in-cheek lyrical ferocity in the vein of Every Time I Die with sudden, erratic time shifts, and pained melodic elements buried under a crushing weight of distorted guitars, complete with riveting breakdowns shouldn't be so accessible, but Pass the Flask could genuinely crossover to the kids for whom metalcore is completely alien. Even though a cursory listen would probably leave you labelling the band as following the current trend of slightly melodic hardcore bands, a closer listen reveals significantly more.

Like the downbeat two minute opening of Porcelain Hearts and Hammers for Teeth where vocalist James Munoz mumbles "You pour the liquor on the staircase, girl. / Pass the flask and close your eyes. Are you grieving for what we've become?/ Are you running from that room? / We set the evidence on fire." the melancholy quiet betraying the imminent explosion. Or the viciousness of Dale Earnhardt's Seatbelt where he screams The signal flares will light the way to the scene of the accident where we'll dance like a pile of teeth in a broken mouth..

I doubt anything will unseat Hot Damn! as the best heavy record released this year, but Pass the Flask runs a close second; and I can unabashedly claim this as the best full-length debut of this year.