Swedish hardcore act turned rock band Blindside started gaining significant exposure in the U.S. with the release of their album Silence several years ago. As they've traded all-screaming for a healthy mixture of Christian Lindskog's versatile singing abilities with the expected screams, Blindside has found a more unique sound for themselves. With the release of The Great Depression two years ago, the band boldly risked their popularity by creating their most diverse and moody project to date. The style and themes of the album lived up to its title, and it became a hard pill to swallow for those who've come to like their harmonic and melodic sound. The Great Depression was a mixed bag, still possessing some strong cuts, but ultimately was a great disappointment.
Sometime between the release of The Great Depression and now, Blindside's label decided it was time for the partnership with the band to end, and the guys were on their own musically. From this new development comes The Black Rose EP, a collection of five brand new songs with three live cuts, all released independently, digitally, by the band themselves. The new tracks are a blend of the sound established with The Great Depression, exploring the sort of anti-melodic, sort of dissonant composition, while mixing in a bit of what they've done prior to that. Opening with "The Way You Dance," the EP kicks off aggressively with the quirky anthem, and moves forward with the Jonezetta-like "Slow Motion." The greatest change in the music is while it's still somewhat frenetic, it's ultimately not nearly as dreary and melancholic. The new tracks get increasingly melodic as it progresses, with "Pretty Nights" and "The Color of My Eyes" standing out from the four new rockers. The title track is a beautiful acoustic ballad that is possibly the strongest song of the eight included, harkening back to the vibe of "Roads" and "Silence" from previous efforts. Lyrically, the new songs are about as ambiguous and metaphorical as can be, so don't expect clear-cut spirituality on this EP. The last three tracks are all live versions of selections from The Great Depression, with "My Alibi" being the weakest of the trio. It's great to hear some live cuts, but given how rough the vocals play out, you really need to see the band's live performance to appreciate it. A few of the stronger cuts from their previous records would have been a nice choice instead, but "Fell In Love With The Game" and "When I Remember" were the best The Great Depression had to offer, so they are a good addition here.
The Black Rose EP is a step in the right direction for this rock quartet. Offering fans a little bit of everything they've done in the past few years, the new material can be most accurately compared to the style of The Great Depression, with a much more positive display. At eight tracks for only five dollars, it's a good deal - plus the band gets all the proceeds with no label serving as a middleman. With a new, full-length record projected for early 2008, The Black Rose EP is a fine appetizer to tide us over.- Review date: 7/5/07, written by John DiBiase
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