CD Review: Blindside / With Shivering Hearts We Wait
I had the pleasure of discovering Swedish rockers Blindside back in 2002 via their release Silence, an album that to this day, remains a classic to me and still garners regular play on my iPod. Since then, I have eagerly awaited every release, from the stunning About a Burning Fire to the dark The Great Depression, and all the way to the short, but sweet Black Rose EP. But never have I anticipated a Blindside album more than their new album With Shivering Hearts We Wait (herein referred to as WSHWW) set to be released on June 7, 2011.
The opening track, “There Must be Something in the Water” is a jarring introduction to the album, sporting a riff that pulls no punches and grabs the listener by the throat. Christian Lindskog’s voice has not lost a step over the years, as he flawlessly switches between smooth vocals and furious screams, aside the thunderous bass lines of Tomas Näslund, screaming guitars of Simon Grenehed, and impeccable drumming of Marcus Dahlström. This is classic Blindside. The orchestral accompaniment adds a layer to this song, but in no way takes away from the heaviness.
The album’s first single, “Monster on the Radio” doesn’t sound like your typical Blindside track; however, in the context of the album, it fits. The song opens with programmed drumming, and is joined a by crunchy guitar riff. “We hold our flag high with blisters on our hands,” sings Lindskog. The chorus is heavy, but catchy, and is appropriate for the album’s lead-off single. “I’ll give everything I have and more to the monster on the radio,” sings Linkskog in the chorus. Overall, it’s a good rocker, but nothing special. This will never be my favorite Blindside song, but I won’t necessarily skip over it either.
“Bring Out Your Dead” is another tune that opens with a heavy, loud meandering riff that really gets the listener’s attention. The verse is highlighted by a distorted bass rumbling over Lindskog’s vocals. “Heavy like 1,000 pounds, what if I told you know” he sings, “to carry the smell of death is harder than it sounds.” The chorus is explosive, with the intro riff providing a backdrop to furious vocals. “Pull out the speakers now, “screams Lindskog, “What comes out I will allow/I didn’t come here to die!” This song exemplifies the type of intensity that I have come to expect and love from Blindside.
Other highlights on WSHWW include the hook-laden “Bloodstained Hollywood Ending,” the dark anthem “Our Love Saves Us”, and the wonderfully haunting and heavy “Cold.” The production on WSHWW, courtesy of Howard Benson, is flawless and Blindside’s musicianship and lyrical content are top form.
The one other criticism have is that we have waited since 2005 for a new full length from Blindside, and while I am grateful for new music, I am disappointed that WSHWW has only ten songs and clocks in at only 38 minutes.
With shivering hearts we have waited for new music from Blindside, and they have not disappointed. WSHWW, while not a perfect offering, is a great album, and arguably their most eclectic mix of songs yet. This is the type of album that will please existing fans, and may win over some new ones as well.