On the Bled's 2001 EP, His First Crush, the album cover bears the line "Can you still feel the butcher knives?" While it's a clever play on Jimmy Eat World's chorus to "For Me This Is Heaven," from Clarity -- "Can you still feel the butterflies?" -- it's also an apt description of the Tucson-based act's music, a blend of hardcore, metal, screamo and melodica that inflicts itself on you like death by a thousand cuts. Not long before the Bled's latest disc, Pass the Flask, was recorded, a crucial lineup change propelled it into territory beyond what a typical hardcore/metal band is capable of. The members replaced original vocalist Adam Goss with longtime friend James Muñoz, just a month before they entered the studio. The bulk of Flask has Muñoz screaming, but the melodic, pretty moments are what really sets the record apart. On stage, the five-piece -- vocalist Muñoz, bassist Mike Celi, guitarists Jeremy Talley and Ross Ott, and drummer Mike Pedicone -- is a tempest of aggression and angst. To call the Bled merely a hardcore or metal band would be an unfortunate marginalization.
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