It would be easy for me to bash Blinded Colony, and I almost did, but in the end, as everything under the sun has its purpose, there are redeeming qualities about Bedtime Prayers and I can unapologetically say that some of these qualities hit the spot of my metal psyche.
As young as Blinded Colony appears to be, Bedtime Prayers is not their first album. That honor belongs to 2003 Divine released on Scarlet Records, but I will leave it for the genre aficionados to dig that album out. Bedtime Prayers, the latest album, saw Blinded Colony not only change labels, but also change vocalists as well, declaring it the era of Johan Schuster.
To thump the album all I had to do was to uncover the long list of criticisms many today bestow on the prominent bands who have abandoned melodic death metal (In Flames, Soilwork) or death thrash (The Haunted) in favor of a more accessible metalcore option. Blinded Colony is certainly the next one in line of Swedish bands that will appeal to young energetic crowd whose idea of a great metal sound is melodic aggression in a form of a simpler parceled music package. My problems with Bedtime Prayers are the same that cause me difficulty with metalcore genre in general. Rhythmic chugging riffage, formulaic structure of aggressive screaming and melodic clean vocals and almost total absence of soloing or fills of any kind. The latter are replaced with power chords driven breakdowns, forming a pounding backdrop to a guitars/bass combination headbanging.
Blinded Colony falls the victim to all of the above trappings. Johan Schuster’s potent angst-filled screams are mostly present in verses, while the choruses are clean melodic crooning, which actually is not half bad, with lots of backing vocals or Johan’s clean tracks overlapped multiple times. It is also certain that Johan had sampled a song or two from the latest In Flames catalog as he does a good Anders Friden impersonation starting with this half lazy could-care-less speak, only to explode it into a scream seconds later (Need). True thrash bits are few and far between, and if the shades of old The Haunted rear their head (21st Century Holocaust), they are immediately followed by the most monstrous of breakdowns. Although Blinded Colony’s ‘core is not very aggressive, choppy guitars are still the name of the game, so a few more fluid riffs (My Halo, Aaron’s Sons) make for an almost romantic feeling. I can almost picture the band going into body slams on stage, Johan recoiling with his throat tearing screams, chains hanging from the baggy pants outfit. I have seen that the last time I was at a Soilwork show, the band Blinded Colony, no doubt, holds in the highest regard. My trouble is while Bedtime Prayers are a lot more about Natural Born Chaos and even Figure #5, I am The Chainheart Machine man all the way.
Throughout this all, I found the album to be extremely catchy, almost captivating to the point of needing to play it NOW multiple times in a row, to get exposed to the crisp and clear production and outstanding melodies in fairly focused songs. Bedtime Prayers certainly would not become an instant classic, but there is something about it similar to junk food or teeth destroying candy. You know it is not supposed to be good for you, there is little nutritional value, yet you crave it and enjoy the moment of digestion anyway. Melodies like the one in Once Bitten Twice Shy are certainly one of the reasons why. Softer contrasting feel of many choruses, possessing some ambiance because of the non-credited keyboards, may be another. Also, for the self-produced album Blinded Colony deserves the highest marks. At least the guys did not need Devin Townsend to extract this sound out of the band.
Going through the checklist I am giving Bedtime Prayers low marks for originality and my personal style preferences, but all straight pluses for thoughtful lyrics, immediate melodies, superb execution and commercial appeal. The latter, of course, may be a bad thing, depending on where you stand on the issue. Pivotal Rockordings seems to be specializing in these type bands earlier bringing us Sonic Syndicate.
Killing Songs :
Bedtime Prayers, Once Bitten Twice Shy
|Alex quoted 69 / 100|
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