Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blindside - The Black Rose EP

The Black Rose EP

Self Released 2007

Here’s the deal. The world of mainstream radio is a dictatorship, and you are being brainwashed if you’re listening. The box in your dashboard with the dials and the frequency reading is nothing but a tool to tell you what you should be listening too, and thus what you should be spending your money on. What’s happening more and more is smart listeners are turning off their radio, and logging onto the internet to find out exactly what is good and what they want to hear, not what some suit forces at them. What in turn results is less of a need for major marketing and million-dollar hype, and more freedom for real artists to create great music that will be heard.

The end is coming.

As artists become less worried about landing the long coveted record deal and start trying to do it on their own (with greater success), holes are bored in the gigantic ship that used to be the music industry. It is sinking slowly, but flamboyantly.

You probably already know this, so lets move on. To the proof that this is really working.
If you’ve ever heard Blindside you know they have passion. Lead singer Christian Lindskog screams desperately in most every song, so you know there’s emotion running thick in his bloodstream. The band follows close at his heels with raw-sounding energy bursting though heavily distorted riffs backed by pounding beats, the likes of wish could bang the head and shuffle the feet.

The four members who hail from Sweden have been through the major label journey. Now, label free, they have taken a great risk with their latest effort. The Black Rose EP was released on June 27th. However, you won’t find it in any stores. It can only be purchased online by way of their website.

The sound for the band is one of a comfortable satisfaction. They are a band that arrives with a fresh attitude for each album. From their early metalcore efforts with A Thought Crushed My Mind before there was such a genre, and their most popular, melodic hardcore release Silence, to a more mainstream screamo sound on About a Burning Fire, they always bring honesty with a punch. In 2005, the band retreated to a less polished, more reserved sound, seemingly influenced by bands in the European scene (namely Muse), on the most recent LP The Great Depression. It seemed that Blindside had reached a burnout point, as Lindskog’s lyrics expressed a heavy burden he felt for the state of the world as well as their band. The title seemed to signify a weight upon the members, and the album, though littered with upbeat dance-worthy grooves, is the band’s darkest one to date.

But The Black Rose EP changes their course yet again- musically and professionally. The freedom they now have is evident and Blindside returns to crush you with the album’s dancing energy paired with their signature crunchy distortion. They only add fuel to the burning fire that is their sound, and seem to dance excitedly to their own beat on top of the contractual chains that once held them.

It is a well-rounded product; something that the band has expressed was their goal for Black Rose. They didn’t want it to feel like a rushed project that was done simply to keep fans happy. The first five tracks are all brand new, starting off brutally with the first four and ending on an emotional acoustic note with the title track. The final three are live recordings of songs from The Great Depression.

It is apparent that they cared honestly for this album, which makes it even more daring of a risk on a personal level to release it without large monetary backing. But what they may or may not realize is that they are helping to break new ground. It may happen sooner or later that record stores will be a thing of the past. There is a new calling for artists to take their art into their own hands. If they’re as honest with their music as Blindside is, it will usher in a new scene of true art, and real music. Popularity will then come to what is best, not to what is most played.

Blindside has always been about hope in the midst of change and despair. That message is sure to play loud as the scene heads toward a new type of existence.

-Mark Wingerter

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