March 8, 2007

CD Review: Blinded Colony - Bedtime Prayers

The band is labeled as melodic death, although there is a lot of melody to be found, I do not detect much in the way of any death. They are more akin to the likes of In Flames and The Haunted, a more extreme/metalcore style that mixes brutality with melody. Blinded Colony doesn't tread any new ground with their debut on their new label, Pivotal Rockordings. Still, while there isn't much here that you haven't heard before, Bedtime Prayers is a solid collection of aggressively melodic metal, the kind of music you want to turn up as you speed down the highway.

Blinded Colony strikes fast and hard and fast with the opening track, "My Halo." It is not the strongest album, but it is a good indicator of where they are coming from, blasting right in with crunchy guitars and in your face screaming vocals. It moves from there to the title track, "Bedtime Prayers," which continues the trend of the brutal melody, although there is a strong injection of atmosphere. Therein lies the biggest addition they have to the music, there is a liberal use of keyboards and synth used to add depth to the music. These instruments are used to great effect, they float in, never distracting from the vocals and riffs, yet add another dimension to the music, creating this interesting epic feel to the music, something that would not have been there had they not been included.

The third track is also the first single, "Once Bitten, Twice Shy." This is the first excellent song, with its use of keyboard atmosphere, chugging riffs, and a deft blend of raw throated scream and clean singing. That is followed by "Need," which is one of the heavier songs included in this collection of nine. It amps up the aggression and attitude that was found in "My Halo" only in a stronger way. "Revolution Now" features continued heavy riffing, but the flow is different, more calculated and effective than in earlier songs.

My favorite song on the disk may be "21st Century Holocaust," a commentary on the current state of war. It is packed with aggression, and a great mix of keys and guitars creating a song that stands out from the rest of the album and really allows the fivepiece to shine. They keep the free flow of talent going with "Aaron's Song," a track that includes some progressive sounds. Bedtime Prayers comes to a close with "Heart," another atmospheric pit chugger that also adds another layer to Johan Schuster's vocal work, adding in emotion to the melody.

The band is made up of Johan Schuster, who joined the band in 2004, guitarists Johan Blomstrom and Tobias Olsson, bassist Roy Erlandsson, and drummer Staffan Franzen. They formed in 2000 (with original singer Niklas Svensson) in Sweden, where they released a couple of self promoted EPs, and then their debut LP, Divine, on Scarlet Records in 2003. The band has displayed a good amount of talent in creating atmospheric and heavy tracks that feel familiar, yet still have a touch of originality to them. This is definitely a good bed to build the future on.

Bottomline. This is a very solid outing, nice use of melody and crunchy riffs, Schuster shows that he has a good set of pipes throughout. They may not be quite ready for primetime, but they have the potential. Blinded Colony is one of those bands that you will want to keep your eye on.



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