Affliction XXIX II MXMVI

Written by: PP on 13/06/2011 02:50:23

Blindead were formed in 1999 in Poland, and have released two full lengths prior to "Affliction XXIX II MXMVI", a concept album telling the story of an autistic girl. They've garnered critical acclaim nationally, which has earned them a support slot to Neurosis, among others, and enabled the band to tour across Central and Eastern European region for a few headlining shows. Not surprisingly their sound is a complicated amalgamation of different styles, most notably doom, post-metal, progressive metal, and even sludge metal in places.

But to pigeonhole Blindead in just one genre would be incorrect. They're very much a completionist band who place much focus in complex and unconventional song structures, taking inspiration from a wide array of styles and genres (for instance, "After 38 Weeks" is an ambient rock piece with a jazzy trumpet adding flavor in the distance), which can also be seen in their song titles. When put together, they read like a poem, adding yet another dimension to the album's concept by telling a story that's open for your own interpretation: "Self-consciousness is desire / and after 38 weeks / my new playground became / dark and gray / so it feels like misunderstanding when / all my hopes and dreams turn in to / affliction XXVII II MMIX". Moreover, their progressive and unconventional approach to songwriting also includes adding in instruments like contrabass and classical piano in places, and occasional effect-laden electronics to complete the picture.

"Self-Consciousness Is Desire And" opens the album as a thick, rumbling post-metal piece which uses the quiet/loud dynamic to its advantage when rolling out a mammoth wall of sound after a melodic and somber opening. It's very much from the Isis playbook with big open spaces that expand and fall back together like lungs when breathing in and out, a very organic piece with memorable songwriting. Although it's a bit of a stretch to call that conventional, it is exactly that in comparison to what the rest of the album offers. We're talking about post-metal ambiance mixed with heavily electronic effects, feedback, distortion, space rock, and lots of weird sounds and melody-lines that I can't even begin to describe on paper.

And yet it works, because of the completionist approach I mentioned earlier, because Blindead are very much a thinking man's band. They challenge their listener with strange soundscapes that consume the listener at first, but reveal their inner beauty shortly after. Sometimes that means plenty of drawn out ambiance and echoing vocals, and elsewhere that means hard-hitting metal riffs and Neurosis-inspired drum patterns. Either way, both styles work very well, and complement each other nicely. There's a clear compare-and-contrast vibe happening on the album as you remember from your high school education, except you'd probably need a bachelor's degree in English poetry to uncover all the detail Blindead offers on this album. That I don't have, so I can't delve much deeper into the release than some of you perhaps can, but even on the surface, the album is an impressive display of progressive rock and post-metal put together with an experimentalist and daring attitude.


Download: Self-Consciousness Is Desire And, Dark And Gray
For the fans of: Isis, Rosetta, Neurosis
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.11.2010
Mystic Production

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