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Here we have yet another case of mislabeled records and bands. Blinded in Bliss is a metalcore band marketed as melodic death metal, and while they might have some melodic influences, their -core influences stick out like a prominent cockrod. When all I can hear is flat, pro-tooled production and copy and paste lyrics that were so obviously taken from every hardcore band in the history of the universe, it makes it hard on my ears to remember that I’m listening to something in the first place. “Constancy” is unfortunately just another boring record amongst a sea of dull and unalluring garbage.
Things start off bad and go pretty much straight to worse with the first track, “Born into Bondage”, which is ostensibly about the twin vocalists’ African lineages. While they’re not quite as annoying as Chelsea Grin, they are entirely vapid and dull in their performance. It’s almost depressing as they do their very best to emulate everyone else in the hardcore genre. One vocalist builds his role in the band entirely around the typical middle-pitched hardcore scream, and the other chimes in with some generic cleans while the first guy catches his breath. When the production isn’t busy making the album sound like a fuzzy, artificial, emotionless mess, there’s some layering of their vocals. That’s it. That’s Blinded in Bliss’ sense of versatility. Needless to say, their performance was stale before I pressed play.
Boring vocals give way to boring guitars. The instrumentation of “Constancy” accomplishes a musical feat I haven’t encountered since my time listening to Between the Buried and Me: they sound so much like everything else in their genre that the entire album dissolves into an ocean of boredom. I wasn’t joking when I said that I sometimes forgot I was listening to an album. “Constancy” is THAT dull. The guitars can be described with words such as “predictable” and “generic” (do you see a pattern here?), as even though the melodic leads require at least some semblance of skill, the songs are almost entirely formed of one-note passages and simple riffs that go absolutely nowhere. When listening closely to the guitars, I first thought, “This reminds me of Odium!” I quickly realised that it reminded me of every band that included even a little melody with their music in a failed attempt to juxtapose artful song structuring with hardcore music.
What about the drums and bass? The drums pick up speed in the way you’d expect them to, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s exactly like everything else in the album in that it offers nothing new to the genre. Oddly enough, though, the drumming is the closest link this band has to a death metal labeling: it’s comprised almost entirely of excessive double-bass play and the occasional blast beat, and doing almost nothing of value for the sound when it’s not doing one of those. While it’s by no means versatile and it requires very little notable skill to pull off, it’s at least consistently heavier as opposed to being very breakdown-oriented. As for the bass… Let’s just say that if there is one, I can’t hear it.
In the end, Blinded in Bliss is yet another metalcore band, and “Constancy” is yet another metalcore record. Nothing separates either of them from mediocrity. They might get a few points for not including breakdowns and downtuned guitars at every turn, but that doesn’t count for much when the album is still a smouldering pile of vapid nothingness. This record is fucking disgusting in just how generic it really is. If you’re into this kind of stuff, all the power to you, but don’t label it “death metal”. That shit just doesn’t fly with me.
How to begin...well, you'd be forgiven for thinking a Bjorn Strid side project would sound very similar to his main band, Soilwork, but if you assumed this, you'd be quite a way off what they actually sound like.
Given that this piece is a good 45 minutes, you struggle to find much above 3 minutes where Bjorn stands out, his trademark singing only echoing in the background of 1 song on the entire album, and even then it's crushed, almost mauled, by the guitar solos and yet more backing vocals.
Were this the latest Soilwork offering, those who liked Steelbath Suicide would find themselves right at home.
As the only notable musician (as a Gothenburg fan, through and through) is Bjorn, you'll have to forgive me for not taking into account the pros and cons of those other souls in the band, as they don't REALLY stand out from any other melodic death metal/metalcore acts as harsh vocals from Rudy Martinez seem to take centre stage, giving way for strong, nign overpowered, guitar riffs which, surprise surprise, are often chugging along nicely in the background.
Whilst the guitars are often just your average accompaniment to the vocals in this act, you'd find yourself occasionally appreciating how the contrasting vocal styles used in Washed Away work better than the picking throughout. The majority of this album doesn't seem to have much of a 'stand out'-ability, given that if you were to not concentrate on the gaps in the tracks, they'd merge into one all too easily.
Now that's the negatives to the albums out the way, time for the positive section. The album is a half respectable release if you exclude the inclusion and advertisement of Bjorn as the vocalist. It'd work as your average metalcore act if it wasn't for this. All on all, it's 45 minutes of your run of the mill metalcore/melodic death metal combination with a smattering of softer vocals to induce the point that they aren't all heavy, which they should've aimed for.
After half a dozen listens through on a combination of Itunes and my Ipod, I'd like to think they would be able to hold their own among this ever growing genre, but sadly I can't say they would. There's bigger bands, there's better bands...and there's Soilwork.
If you want to listen to this sort of music, you're better off listening to Trivium for the guitar solos, Unearth for the sheer aggression, and Bloodwork for the vocals in this style. It sounds equally similar and dissimilar to all of the above somehow.
Blinded in Bliss are an up and coming new metalcore band based out of Cornwall, Ontario Canada. Despite the small town location, there are a of couple big names amongst the line up that includes bassist Pat Kavanagh from Threat Signal and vocalist Björn "Speed" Strid from Soilwork. The six piece band has gained quite a large amount of recognition since their debut album "Constancy" was released this past Valentine's Day. The question begging to be asked is, is there something truly special here or are Blinded in Bliss just riding on the fame from other names?
"Constancy" is a light and fluffy inspirational record that tries its best to uplift the listener and empower them. The lyrical content on this album is of the parent approved variety, and is poorly written and structured. Words such as you, we, me, us, and the variances of each are atrociously overused, and this is also a good time to point out that all of the music and lyrics are written by guitarist Baron Pierce (for the exception of tracks "Constancy" and "Factors Affect"), so most of the material here comes from a singular source. The lyrics are the worst element of this release, as they are abundantly repetitive, overly simplistic, and reminiscent of a high school mentality due to the mainstream rock quality.
Instrumentally, what is presented here is fluid, tight and well composed. With two guitarists and two vocalists, it's easy to have material that is overcrowded and stuffy, however Blinded in Bliss seem to have harmonized these elements to bend and fit to their will. There is also an unbridled passion that is clearly heard and expressed, and each member shows skill, comfort and knowledge behind their instrument of choice. Each track seems to have various alternating picking patterns coming from the lead guitar, and this causes the material to blend together a little too much.
Vocally, "Constancy" is typical metalcore with little to no innovation or recognizable attributes that would make the sound unique. Of course there is Björn Strid from Soilwork, but he mostly lends his talent to backing vocals and clean singing, leaving the growls and screams to the tongue of Rudy Martinez, who across energetic and passionate. One track known as "Factors Affect" really stands out from the other material as it is the heaviest work presented.
The production and mixing of Blinded in Bliss' debut album is up to code, and the only complaint that could be made is that the lead guitar sometimes overtakes the material, but this is easy to overlook as it isn't incredibly powerful. The bass is audible enough to give the record a boost, and enlists the help of the double bass drum, both working together to give the content a much needed crunch and added weight.
Overall, "Constancy" is a good attempt for a debut album. However, with two well known musicians in the line up the content is expected to be better than this. This mainly stems from having one person writing most of the material, instead of the work being spread across the band.
- Villi Thorne