Blindside - About a Burning Fire 
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Dan MacIntosh   
Tuesday, 24 February 2004


About A Burning Fire
format: 16-bit Stereo CD
label: Elektra Records
release year: 2004
performance: 8
sound 7
reviewed by: Dan MacIntosh

Blindside is a smart, cynical, spiritual and Swedish band. It’s also a hard-rocking outfit that nevertheless has a softer side. About a Burning Fire is a title that makes reference to God’s nature, yet this group is not so heavenly-minded to be no earthly good. There are more than a few tracks here that folks – whether they’re Christians or not – can relate to.

For instance, “Hooray, It’s L.A.” reveals how the group is none too thrilled with spending too much time in Los Angeles. Vocalist Christian Lindskog sings about this big city’s concrete jungle in an angry and disgusted tone. The song’s sound takes on a bit of a grunge tone, which may be due to the fact that Billy Corgan (of Smashing Pumpkins) helps out on guitar. The group sounds equally unimpressed with the culture on “Die Buying,” which bemoans society’s rampant consumerism.

Lindskog is a notable vocalist, since he uses a wide variety of vocal sounds here. On “Roads,” for instance, he reaches for a weary Counting Crows-like Adam Duritz feel, while on “Swallow,” he nearly sounds like he’s gargling. Elsewhere in “Hooray, It’s L.A.,” he adds a bit of Roger Daltrey’s stuttering trick (remember “My Generation”?).

The album closes with “About a Burning Fire,” which is the only place where the group relies solely upon predictable scream rock. Better by far is “Roads.” This one is backed by acoustic guitar, including subtle strings, and even sports a jazzy trumpet solo. Then, on “Shekina,” the song begins with female-led traditional Swedish singing, which is a vocal section that returns again later in the song. The tune has a folky beat and even an accompanying violin in places. It also has sitar-like sounds incorporated toward the end. Another notable track is “After You’re Gone,” which is nearly acoustic. It features prominent tom-tom drums, understated guitars and tortured – yet not screamed – vocals. All of these examples show that there is a much deeper musicality running through this outfit than its hard rock reputation might initially lead you to believe.

“About A Burning Fire” is Christian-oriented, without being overly preachy. You get the feeling these guys realize how difficult living the Christian life can be, so they’re not about to get all fundamentalist on us. Blindside’s clear vision, and sporadically eclectic approach to hard rock, is truly refreshing.

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