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From the group's inception in the mid-'70s onward, the New York-based Controlled Bleeding have remained one of the most prolific and unpredictable American industrial bands, exploring the extremes of both unchecked sonic fury and free-floating ambient dub. Led by singer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Lemos, a high-school English teacher by day, Controlled Bleeding released their debut EP, Wall of China Love Letter, in 1979; a series of abrasive cassettes followed before the group issued its first full-length effort, Knees and Bones, in 1983. Following the typically aggressive Body Samples in 1984, the 1985 release Between Tides found the group (consisting of Lemos, drummer Joe Papa, and keyboardist Chris Moriarty) branching out into more serene, atmospheric work; the trend continued on Head Crack and Curd (both 1986), and by 1987's Core, the first Controlled Bleeding LP issued in their home country, the music had become virtually instrumental, peppered with jazz and even classical elements.
As the group's appetite for change grew, so did its interest in melody, as evidenced by the track "Rings of Fire" from 1989's Songs from the Grinding Wall EP; however, the same record's lead cut, "Crack the Body," proved that Controlled Bleeding's fascination with industrial noise had not dimmed. Similarly, 1990's full-length, Trudge, covered a great deal of territory, including a stab at techno on "Crimes of the Body." Hog Floor, issued in 1991, collected remixes, rarities, and unreleased music dating back to Knees and Bones. As Controlled Bleeding continued to mutate some two decades after the band's inception, the mid-'90s found them focusing on ambient styles; Inanition, released in 1996, was a two-disc set in this vein. The full-length album Our Journey's End followed in July of 2000; two years later, Controlled Bleeding released Can You Smell the Rain Between on Tone Casualties. In 2005, the group released Shanked and Slithering on Hospital Recordings before returning in 2008 with Before the Quiet.