What if a melodic Swedish death metal band came along, pretty much out of nowhere, and vaulted themselves into the same echelon as the genre's elite with one album on a virtually unknown label (one whose youthful CEO enjoys taking the occasional anonymous potshot at me in the comments field… but I digress)? Would they be recognized for their art without the big promotional push of an established company? Or is metal history written by those with the biggest PR budget?
It'll be interesting to see how the BLINDED COLONY story plays out. Because if we were going strictly on musical merits, these Karlshamn natives are already hanging with — and arguably outwriting and outperforming – the likes of IN FLAMES and SOILWORK. A bold statement, sure, but these guys have a better grip on one crucial factor the other two bands sometimes miss — how to write what are, in effect, melodic pop songs without losing sight of their metal roots.
That's it — you won't hear anything wildly original or completely shocking on their sophomore album, "Bedtime Prayers", if you're familiar with modern Swedish metal. But BLINDED COLONY are operating on a level of quality and savvy that's astonishing — they do what a lot of other bands do, but they do it better than just about all of them. Their choruses are just that much more melodic, their riffs that much catchier, the electronic enhancements that much more subtle and propulsive.
And while all the elements that make old-school fans gnash their teeth are here — copious amounts of keyboards, melodic singing in the choruses, wide-open chords with lots of space for singalongs — the production still has bite to it, and the guitar tone isn't watered down. There's a warm, organic sound to "Bedtime Prayers" despite its overt allegiance to (and skilled use of) digital effects, and nothing sounds overly processed or irritatingly "fixed in the mix." Simply put, this is a great-sounding record full of great songs, performed with skill and passion.
Highlighting individual tunes is almost pointless, although opener "My Halo" is the perfect energetic uptempo opener, and sets the tone for the whole album. If BLINDED COLONY do have a fault, it's that while they set the bar exceptionally high for what they do, it's a fairly limited palette they paint with. That's not a big problem, though — you're gonna reach for this album when you want a well-done dose of melodic modern-day metal, Swedish style, and that's exactly what "Bedtime Prayers" delivers flawlessly. It remains to be seen if the band is too late in the game to capture a fanbase, or if their label can make a dent in the marketplace, but whatever music-industry scenario plays out, the fact remains that BLINDED COLONY have made an awesome fucking record here.