Blind Witness

Nightmare On Providence St.

Written by: BL on 13/04/2010 20:48:39

We here at Rockfreaks seem to have a thing for liking a lot of the Canadian bands we review (perhaps maybe the now defunct Despised Icon aside). Lets see if said trend continues with Blind Witness, who are yet another five piece straight out of Montréal, Canada. Their new full length "Nightmare On Providence St." will actually likely polarise a lot of listeners. It's got a lot to like but a lot to easily hate as well depending on your stance on metalcore (or anything -core), which seems to be the case often these days. Having only briefly heard their last record, "Silences Are Words", and not having any meaningful recollection of it probably meant it wasn't anything too standout or worth writing about.

Initially I wasn't sure what to make of this record. Blind Witness have pretty much come up with an album that is pretty much a splitting portrait of modern heavy metalcore, tinged with both deathcore and scene-appeasing hardcore. Now call that mix an abomination if you must, but the end result is not actually disastrous by any stretch. It's just that there is little in terms of new or innovative ideas on display from song after song of an admittedly competent standard. If you've listened to any recent metalcore bands I've listed below from the last few years (in particularly As Blood Runs Black, August Burns Red or Miss May I), and if so even better just imagine them all at once (which isn't exactly difficult) then you can pretty much picture exactly how this record will sound. Fast harmonised (and pretty good actually) melodic riffing, some lead guitars occasionally, frantic machine gun like drumming, pummeling breakdowns, and lots of growls - pretty much generic stapled all over. From a technical point of view none of the members are slouches at what they do though and there is a fairly decent level of musicianship all round (in particular the drummer Kevin Desroches and the occasionally pig squealing vocalist Johnathan Cabana). The production is certainly top notch too - everything sounds visceral, sharp and polished which is exactly how this kind of metalcore really has to sound.

Despite the complete lack of originality, I did find something quite likeable about the record after repeated spins. The album starts with a rather humorous voice clip of a random girl calling up the lead vocalist Johnathan in a panic about something as her voice is muffled. Johnathan has no idea what she is saying either and so he keeps replying "What?" more and more aggressively until it goes from a shout to a full on scream and then first song kicks in proper. While I can only assume the whole thing is just a short light hearted poke at ahem, girls, (and there's a similar one about picking up wannabe groupies at a bar later) it certainly gave me the impression that these guys have (or want to show) a lax, party-going nature. If one takes the same light hearted approach to the rest of the album, remarkably it starts painting itself in a wholely different light - from a more distant standpoint, these ten tracks (eleven counting the intro) are very enjoyable if one is such a casual listener of modern metalcore like myself.

For you see, the breakdowns aren't overtly offensive and actually have a fair amount of impact since they don't feel out of place. The few decent guitar solos and lead guitar licks dotted throughout are all very effectively placed and very tasteful, the August Burns Red style riff work (in particular on "Since The Beginning" and "These Countless Sleepness Nights") and the very good drumming all make me feel right at home too. There's even a sense of a party swagger that comes into full effect on "Baby One More Notch" (though maybe I'm just remembering their music video for said song). I'll have to end my summary plain and simple. "Nightmare On Providence St." is for modern metalcore enthusiasts only, and one who doesn't mind listening to some bastard love child of all the bands listed in the "For The Fans Of:" section. The songs will sit well if indeed you are the right audience, but probably will be hated like any other bands in it's peers if not.

Download: These Countless Sleepness Nights, Baby One More Notch, The New Year
For the fans of: As Blood Runs Black, August Burns Red, Miss May I, As I Lay Dying (Shadows Are Security era)
Listen: Myspace

Release date 09.03.2010
Mediaskare Records

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