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This was the much awaited album from Swedish band Blindside, first released in the UK in 2002 following their two known previous releases Blindside (1998) and A Thought Crushed My Mind (2000). It was the first album to receive large scale publicity, and due to having acquired a reasonable fan base from the first two successful albums it was set to go down in Blindside history. In my humble opinion, it just went down.
The album is a mix of metal riffs, melodic overlays and up and coming 'post-hardcore/emo' vocals. Despite being a forerunner for the now well known 'emo' movement, it is hard to believe that Blindside's previously unique, individual sound which appeased hardcore and metal fans around the globe suddenly turned into a gooey mass of emo whines, loved by black eyed teens jumping on the movement's short-lived bandwagon, yet less liked by their more mature, tasteful fans.
Yet let us not dismiss Silence as a poor progression to musical fashion. Admittedly upon first hearing the CD, it did seem to wash over me with little impact and almost disappointment. Not only did the 47.24 minute album seem much shorter, but there wasn't a single song that jumped out and stuck unlike previous tracks such as 'Invert' and 'Act'. That is until I heard Silence with it's powerful lyrics, haunting melody and eery synthesised sound. Still it was nothing overwhelming.
The album took a while to grow on me, yet being a Blindside fan, I did give it a few listens and it did improve. The more you listen to it, the better it gets, although it is still not up there with the band's previous greats. The lyrics become more powerful the more you listen to them and uncover their hidden meanings. The riffs become interesting and impacting; you find yourself singing an amazing riff and are surprised when you realise it actually forms part of the 'Silence' album, for example Time Will Change Your Heart. I do love the album and still play it from time to time, however it is definitely not the highlight of Blindside's career. Silence is not something to stay silent about, but neither is it something to shout about.
Just when I thought the Christian Swedes couldn't sink any lower, they reinvent themselves as a pop rock band, thankfully toning down the Slipknot rubbish of their earlier releases but only going on to replace it with a dilution of gothic rock, reminiscent of the Cure at their least moody. And Christian Lindskog still doesn't so much sing as pierce the listener's eardrums with his whine. Most disappointing of all is the abandonment of the (admittedly slight) experimental tendencies of the previous album, the only deviations coming in roughly half of the songs, where the band breaks out the basic Machine Head power chords and pinch harmonics to impress the kids with their "heaviness."
I'm glad that the pointless aggro has gone, but bland and wistful melancholia isn't exactly an improvement, even if it's admittedly easier to listen to. 'Caught a Glimpse' sets up the emo whine that only gets worse in 'Pitiful,' a song I believe was released as a single that would at least do the job of diving the audience into those who despise it and those who think it might be okay, and that the album could at least hold something of interest. In this song, 'Cute Boring Love' and 'Thought Like Flames,' Lindskog attempts his best Robert Smith impersonation before moving on to a style more reminiscent of Him in 'Midnight,' but the only song that even approaches the gothic mentality in any way outside of tedious pop is the finale 'Silence,' which unfortunately ends up being mostly boring.
It's clear that even this far down the line, the band has no real idea what it wants to sound like, and breaking into America with the help of their Christian rock contemporaries (so people will listen to anything based on a shared set of values, regardless of its musical ability?), it seems that Blindside are jumping on an off of the pop rock bandwagons as they come and go, from nu-metal to emo-core and gothic rock. I wouldn't be surprised if their next release was a pop punk effort.
1. Caught a Glimpse
4. Cute Boring Love
5. The Endings
6. You Can Hide It
7. Thought Like Flames
8. Time Will Change Your Heart
11. Coming Back to Life
12. She Shut Your Eyes
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Caught A Glimpse
4 Cute Boring Love
6 You Can Hide It
7 Thought Like Flames
8 Time Will Change Your Heart
11 Coming Back To Life
12 She Shut Your Eyes