Bleed the ’90s into the ’20s with raw alt-metal

It took a very long, painstaking year to get it to where I wanted it.

Ryan Hughes, Bleed

Chugging riffs, legato melodies and grainy distortion are just a few of the alternative metal hallmarks that Bleed wear proudly on their sleeves. The Dallas band filter themes of loss and grief through the iconic sounds of the late ’90s and early ’00s on their debut EP Somebody’s Closer.

Bleed was born out of two other excellent Dallas bands: Narrow Head and Garden of Mary. Released just over a year ago on September 12th 2021, Somebody’s Closer delivers its four short tracks with striking immediacy. “Burnt (By The Sun)” and “Silver” serve as catchy openers that are reminiscent of Helmet or the early nu metal of Deftones. Noah Boyce (guitar) and Adam Ackerman (bass) evoke the tones of Static-X and Mudvayne. The unnerving outro to “Somebody’s Closer” and fade into “Ennervation” conjures the green-tinted films of the late ’90s.

Amidst the syncopated guitar rhythms, Carson Wilcox (drums) grounds the pacing throughout the EP. There are few unexpected turns, yet the four-piece subtly draws inspiration from other genres whilst remaining unpretentious. Take Ryan Hughes (guitar/vocals), who sings with the Seattle twang of the late Layne Staley or Chis Cornell.

The bridge on “Silver” feels noisy enough to pass as a track by the English industrial metal band Godflesh. Somebody’s Closer proves that this band are well-equipped to overlap alt-metal with complementary sounds on later projects. 

For now, Bleed hone a distinct musical identity. “Killing Time” was released as a single in 2022 and blends seamlessly with its predecessor. I was blissfully unaware of the Texas shoegaze scene until I stumbled across a ‘Texasgaze’ playlist on Spotify. It blew my mind to learn that Bleed joined Glare and Bedlocked for the release show for Transmissions by trauma ray in May 2022. It’s no wonder that Bleed is becoming a quick favourite amongst fans of the metal label 20 Buck Spin. Esteemed artist and designer Frank Maddocks has added Bleed to his portfolio of Linkin Park, Deftones, Saudade and countless more. Following their first two releases, Bleed promise an exciting debut LP very soon. 

Grab your nearest pair of headphones and listen to Somebody’s Closer as you enjoy our exclusive interview with Ryan from Bleed below. 

Hi Ryan! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us at IAMUR. Starting with your origins, what inspired you, Noah, Adam and Carson to get together and create Bleed?

Jacob Duarte and I started Narrow Head together in early 2013. After Satisfaction, life happened and I became a father, so it was time to rearrange my priorities for the time being. I started Garden of Mary shortly after Narrow Head began, but it sat on the shelf for a while. I’m lucky to be making music, more specifically with Bleed now.

Was the intention to combine the sounds of Narrow Head and Garden of Mary, or to strive for completely different music with Bleed?

That was definitely never the intention. Bleed was birthed from my desire to take the early Narrow Head sound that we made and take it a few steps further – more aggressive and straightforward.

Enjoy Bleed’s dynamic alt-metal tracks:

Following such a tumultuous year for many musicians, what was the recording process like for Somebody’s Closer?

Somebody’s Closer took an entire year and three different recording attempts to finish. It just wasn’t right yet. I knew the way I wanted it to sound and it took a very long, painstaking year to get it to where I wanted it. Luckily, Rubio (our mixer for Somebody’s Closer) possesses the patience of a saint and still made it an enjoyable process.

Did you always know you’d include “Burnt (By the Sun)”, “Silver”, “Enervation” and “Somebody’s Closer” on the EP, or did the track list evolve during the songwriting stage?

Yeah, those were part of the original track listing. We actually recorded a fifth track as well, but it didn’t make the cut. Maybe we’ll bring it back on a future release.

You’ve described yourselves as a band that draws on the alternative hard rock of the early 2000s. Were there any particular artists who shaped your vision for Somebody’s Closer?

Bands like Linkin Park, Deftones, and Helmet have inspired me greatly for a long time now. Some other notable bands that I draw influence from include Pulse Ultra, Lo-Pro, HUM, and Nothingface to name a few.

To my ear, Somebody’s Closer pulls a lot of post-grunge and nu-metal tones together. I’m interested to know how you would define ‘the Bleed sound’ as a band?

I love to describe it as alternative metal to a layperson. I use metal specifically because I think it’s pretty aggressive at face value-which is what I love about it. I’ve always wanted to combine raw aggression with emotion and that’s been the goal since day one.

The lyrics on these tracks feel at times confrontational, and at other times ambiguous. What were the thematic or aesthetic drives behind the tracks on Somebody’s Closer?

Somebody’s Closer deals with a few different themes. The general feelings deal greatly with loss: losing a loved one, relative, or lover/partner, which segues into grief.

Do have some shout-outs for any local bands in the scene that deserve more love?

I’d check out Clear Acid from Fort Worth, Texas.

Sourced from Twitter

You recently announced that Bleed will be supporting Narrow Head alongside Temple of Angels on a US tour in October this year. Do you have any plans to tour outside of the US in the future (asking for a friend)?

We definitely want to come to Europe as soon as possible!

Can our readers expect any new releases from Bleed before 2022 is out?

Nothing before 2023…our first full-length album will be out next year.

The new year couldn’t come soon enough. Until then, you can find Bleed on Bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter and Instagram. A big thank you to Ryan for our chat and a wave across the pond to Carson, Adam and Noah!

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, feel free to read more of our special features. You never know who you might discover – they could become your new favourite artist!

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