The Bled

Found in the Flood

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Found in the Flood refines the post-hardcore flail of the Bled's 2003 debut Pass the Flask. The ratios have all been tightened -- loud to soft, melodic to disjointed, sane to crazy -- and the result is an album with more rewards than the typical genre entry. It's still loaded down with pretentious cover art, and the constant dynamic between whispering shudder and screaming bloody murder might grow tiresome for those with just a casual interest in post-hardcore's tortured cerebrals. But "Guttershark" and "My Assassin" are rabid and raucous Mars Volta descendents that still stay in sight of melody, and there are enough tweezed guitar moments throughout Flood to offer more than the usual wall of gruff distortion. Bled vocalist James Muñoz is adept at the jarring shifts between an exploding esophagus and falsetto croon, and noted modern rock producer Mark Trombino (Jimmy Eat World, Rilo Kiley) keeps the Bled moving along without too many indulgent pauses. In fact, most of the indulgence is saved for the end, where the otherwise satisfyingly chaotic "I Don't Keep with Liars Anymore" fizzles into a noodling exploration of guitar harmonics. (The squelchy programming tacked onto the very end doesn't count for anything.) Fortunately there's "Last American Cowboy," which stutters along in volatile post-hardcore meter until dropping into an insistent, even hooky chorus, and "Antarctica," where the swirling opening fog becomes something much louder and very near a noisier Modest Mouse.

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