BLINDEAD – Affliction XXIX II MXMVI
Progressive metal these days encompasses a wide range of sonic styles. If you ever get the chance to read Jeff Wagner’s recent book Mean Deviation you’ll understand that everything from Watchtower to VoiVod to Devin Townsend gives the listener a broad base to look at the genre with more depth than merely Dream Theater, Queensryche or Fates Warning. Fringe bands enter the scene at all times to push the parameters of dynamics. Poland’s Blindead are one of those outside acts – on the surface you will not think much of “Affliction XXIX II MXMVI” is blindingly technical, expansive, or even instrumentally bizarre.
Instead, much like Neurosis or Isis, the six piece Polish group engage your brainwaves with morose, dark arrangements that often are sparse in their instrumentation. A song like “After 38 Weeks” features a poetic Patryk Zwolinski vocal delivery against slow, echoing guitar lines and a doom-like drum part. The follow up “My New Playground Became” features a deeper growl of despair while Jan Galbas provides the plaintive female clean counterpoint and the instrumentation builds with heavy tension and features excellent rhythm work from bassist Piotr Kawalerowski and drummer Konrad Ciesielski in that post alternative meets progressive comfort zone.
Tackling the subject of mental illness and autism from a young girl’s perspective, Blindead approach the lyrics and delivery with the same intelligence and tact as the compositions – sometimes soft and engaging, other times heavier and with anger and frustration at being empty, alone and often misunderstood. “So It Feels Like Misunderstanding When” churns through 6:05 minutes of repetitive clean guitar sequences during the instrumental sections and then furious distortion moments for the verses and choruses – resembling the rising and falling tides within the girl’s life. The introspective title track concludes this album with Patryk taking on more of an Eddie Vedder-like stance on the clean parts but then exploding into death fury for the final album strains.
Blindead should be a wild card progressive metal act necessary for all music experts to corral and spread the word on.