The Hoobastanking of Swedish Christian hardcore heroes Blindside began in earnest on 2002's Silence. Aided by helming wiz Howard Benson, the quartet successfully remodeled itself, compressing its aggressive, at times bellicose vocals and blur of blistering guitars into still meaty, but safely melodic chunks of meaning. Benson returns for About a Burning Fire, which finds Blindside completing their transformation into a completely believable, yet ultimately unremarkable alternative metal combo. Nothing among the opening round of yearning screams, plodding half-time riffs, and dynamic instrumental pauses really sticks until the single "All of Us," which is a convincing cross of creeping Radiohead atmosphere and Incubus anthem-making. "All of us are searching for an open arm/And it's a shame how I curl up in the dark" -- you get the idea. They're also likely to be the only post-grunge outfit with a guest shot from chilly Swedish folkies Garmarna, whose Emma Härdelin guides the atmospheric throb of "Shekina" with her otherworldly wail. It's an album standout, but that's sort of problematic since nothing else on Burning Fire sounds remotely like it. The record's remainder is populated by capable rockers that rely solidly on formula, alternating between brooding interludes and loud moments punctuated by bursts of guitar or kernels of insight from vocalist Christian Lindskog. Highlights include "After You're Gone," which capitalizes its titular subject, suggesting Lindskog is speaking to the Man Upstairs, while "Where the Sun Never Dies" switches things up with a dual vocal setup and relentless hammer-down chording. About a Burning Fire should certainly please Blindside's more recent fan base. It's a stronger album than Silence, and shows some creative derring-do even if it ultimately settles for the typical sounds of now.
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus
feat: Billy Corgan