Of Mice & Men
The Mo Club, Southampton, UK - 16/4
With Shivering Hearts We Wait
Written by: AP on 07/08/2011 12:59:32
Christian rock, metal and post-hardcore is very rarely associated with Scandinavia, one of the most secular regions of the world. We do nonetheless provide a home for a number of such acts, most notably Swedish post-hardcore troop Blindside, who retreated under the radar to enjoy some well-deserved time off with their families following the release of "The Black Rose" EP four years ago. But living in a time when comebacks and reunions are all the rage as we are, Blindside have returned, amid colossal expectations, with a new full-length album titled "With Shivering Hearts We Wait".
With a title like that, it is only natural to expect grandeur - something that Blindside deliver with full force. In what has swiftly grown to be one of my favorite songs this year, the album opens like a rock opera with "There Must Be Something in the Water", colossal guitars blazing against a backdrop of grandiose strings and samples. The song gradually escalates into a magnificent finale, but it does beg the question: why was this song not left to conclude the album? The question rings even louder with the following "My Heart Escapes", "Monster on the Radio" and "It's All I Have", all full-fledged rock songs with an unmistakable radio edge, and none awash with the kind of orchestral instrumentation heard in track one - the latter even bears a close resemblance to The Killers' hit single "When We Were Young".
Not that the instantly memorable songs, which Blindside deliver a further six of with unwavering conviction and consistency, should be regarded as a negative attribute. True the instrumental channels offer few inspiring moments when the orchestral element is subdued, but the power of Christian Lindskog's vocals alone, ranging from soft pop singing à la Brandon Flowers to soaring highs strained with emotion, in the vein of Cody Bonnette of As Cities Burn, maintain a constant attention hook and perform stunningly like a lead instrument. But it is undoubtedly the combination of all these attributes - the fantastic singing, the symphonic backdrop, and the heavy guitars - on the likes of "Withering", "Cold", and the aforementioned "There Must Be Something in the Water" that provide the most chilling and beautiful moments on "With Shivering Hearts We Wait".
Paradoxically, the song selected for the role of bringing the album to a finish, "There Must Be Something in the Wind", would have served well as the first song. Its slow start and gradual layering toward an arguably pointless drum n' bass finale is far better suited for constructing the sound Blindside hope to achieve on "With Shivering Hearts We Wait" than dismantling it. As such, it brings the album to a rather anti-climatic and messy ending, but with just one truly weak song out of ten, one can hardly take stabs at Blindside, who have clearly orchestrated an album that appropriately reflects the maturity and progress of the band since its humble beginnings as a youthful post-hardcore act.
Download: There Must Be Something in the Water, My Heart Escapes, Monster on the Radio, Withering
For the fans of: As Cities Burn, Story of the Year, The Used
Listen: Official website
Release date 07.06.2011