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Artist: Blindside
Label: Three Points/Elektra
Length: 13 Tracks/47:26 min

If, as someone once claimed, that the key to success is "not what you know, it's who you know," then Sweden's Blindside ought to be okay. For them, the "who" is flavour-of-the-year, metal heroes, P.O.D., who have "big-upped" Blindside in the press at every available opportunity, had singer Christian guest on "Anything Right" from the mega-selling Satellite album, and recently made Blindside the first signing to their new record label. In a perfect world, however, it is not just the "who" but "what" Blindside know that would guarantee them prosperity, because Silence is one of those endangered species - an album that satisfies on every level, musically, vocally and lyrically.

Musically, Blindside have moved on leaps and bounds since the bruising, metallic hardcore of 2000's A Thought Crushed My Mind. While long-time fans may get riled at the prospect of Blindside "going commercial", the fact is that they have merely smoothed out the often inaccessible spikiness of their past output, while not betraying their roots. Silence surfs several sonic waves, taking in punk-inspired anthems (current single "Pitiful"), emotionally-wrought bites of post nu-metal ("Caught a Glimpse"), the aggressive hardcore of old ("Time Will Change Your Heart"), and even semi-acoustica ("Midnight" and the title track). The place where these elements synergize to best effect is on "Painting" which features a sublime, doom-laden, low-slung guitar riff counterpointing otherwise gentle verses and a wonderfully melodic chorus.

Vocally, Christian proves himself to be of hitherto, only hinted-at prowess. Yes, he can still scream with the best of them but his singing voice is immaculate and the combination of the two, usually within the same song, perfectly captures the mood swings of the lyrics. Ah, those lyrics. It is not often that one can be so engrossed by the lyric sheet of an album that a good half an hour goes by before you feel the need to actually listen to it. Blindside's lyrics poetically document the gamut of spiritual emotions with an honesty that is sadly lacking from most secular and non-secular albums alike. Thus, we can cry along with the contrition displayed in "Pitiful":

I know, as I hammered those nails into Your beautiful hands
Your eyes still try to search for mine, but I look away
Now Your eyes are the only thing that can save me
I'm still so afraid of them piercing
You're breaking into my prison.
We can nod in empathy at the frankness and self-shame of "Cute Boring Love":
The one thing I hate most about me
Is the one thing you want to make your trademark
To feel lust without cute boring love.
We can echo the pleas of "Midnight":
And I know You're alive
And I'll give my heart to survive
This world has nothing to offer a human soul
Reaching for the sky
So Father of Light
Keep my human spirit alive.
And finally, we can revel in the hope and moral regeneration of "Coming Back To Life":
Feel like I'm coming back to love
This black crow becoming white dove
Feel like I'm coming back to life
I'm falling again
I'm falling in love.
The album ends with the haunting yet beautiful title track where Christian declares to his God:
I can't explain or understand
I just love You...
... So I think I'll stay
Caught up in a silent prayer.
After listening to this album that may well be the place that you feel like being in, at the very least to contemplate the fact that this is easily the best album to come out of Europe this year. As Depeche Mode once said, "Enjoy the Silence"...

Vik Bansal  10/10/02


Blindside's third full length release and first major label release Silence is a departure from their last album A Thought Crushed My Mind.   Silence seems to showcase lead singer Christian's singing abilities this time around rather than his screaming abilities.  Some will throw this new album in the 'radio friendly' corner and just pass on it, which is unfortunate since it's very strong release.  Lyrics are as with any Blindside release well written for the music they complement, very uplifting,  and Christian without a high "Jesus per minute" ratio.  Every song may be radio friendly and many may discard this release because of its attempt to break into the mainstream but those people are just going to miss out.

Chris Sarda 11/30/2002


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