We All Bleed

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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

Five years after the disappointing sophomore album Falling Away, Crossfade return on We All Bleed as a somewhat reconstituted outfit. Original members Ed Sloan (vocals, guitar) and Mitch James (bass) are joined by yet another drummer, Mark Castillo, and a new guitarist and keyboard player, Les Hall. This second addition to the lineup is especially important, as Hall gets a sole or co-songwriting credit on every track and adds his keyboard textures throughout, giving the album a fuller sound and more of a leaning toward prog rock and synth rock. Still, the band remains an aggressive hard rock/heavy metal unit in which Sloan wrestles with anger and despair throughout. One possible source of his troubles and of the lengthy absence from the studio is suggested in the heartfelt ballad "Dear Cocaine," which is, yes, addressed to that drug. "Dear cocaine," Sloan feelingly sings, "I'm not your bitch/Dear cocaine, I'm not your whore/Anymore." The "anymore" is significant, of course, and it signals the singer's intent to emerge from his travails, also suggested in such song titles as "Prove You Wrong." By the end, on the lengthy "Make Me a Believer," Sloan is pleading for hope in the future. Of course, to reach even the possibility of that heaven, he has to make his way through hell, and his anguish is expressed in the guitar power chords and pummeling beats that make up much of the music.

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