Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blind Witness - Nightmare on Providence St.

Blind Witness made their debut by releasing a mediocre metalcore record that caught the attention of a handful of listeners. Then, after several lineup changes, the band decided to go in a much heavier direction by combining death metal with their melodic metalcore sound (aka deathcore). This album was their real breakthrough, getting the attention of thousands from around the world. Although the hype that this album created died out about a year or so later, it still remains something that I feel that needs to be reviewed. In case you didn’t know, the band broke up due to the loss of passion for their music and not making any money on tour and played their last show earlier this month in Canada. Well, with that said, which is somewhat unfortunate, let’s jump into this thing.

For those of you that are deathcore nerds, don’t expect ANYTHING that you haven’t heard before. The sound of this album is deathcore with more metalcore than death metal (like Heaven Shall Burn, Bleed from Within, etc.). The drums are what dominate everything else. Every aspect of the percussion is front-and-center over EVERYTHING: the guitars, the vocals, and even the bass. Although I know that the drums tend to be the dominant instrument in the deathcore genre, this is a bit much. But thankfully, the drummer isn’t a total fuck-up; he can actually play some legit blast beats, his kick drumming is tight during the breakdowns (which is very important), and he can play some blazingly fast fills.

When it comes to deathcore, I like it when the vocalist does more growls and mid-ranges than screaming. This is mainly because it tends to be quite rare that the vocalist has a scream that actually sounds good. The Blind Witness member that takes his place behind the microphone has a style that focuses primarily on really gritty mid-ranged yells and growls. The cool thing is that his screams are actually really good! But you usually only hear them when they’re put on top of really low gutturals.

The most unique aspect of this album is the groove it carries. When listening to it, you can tell that the metalcore element takes a higher place than the death metal element. And that the specific TYPE of metalcore used in this album is that really groovy and catchy metalcore that’s used by bands like Threat Signal, Mnemic, and Architects. Blind Witness isn’t the only deathcore band that puts the catchy metalcore aspect in a higher place; it’s also done by Attila, Bring me the Horizon, Veil of Maya, and Innocents Massacre. There are more metalcore-styled guitar harmonizations, guitar solos, and drum patterns than death metal ones. But there’s still enough death metal in the music to undeniably place this specific record (not their first one) in the deathcore genre.

One thing that I do notice in some of the guitar solos is a prominent hard rock vibe. I’m not saying that it’s a new thing that no one has ever done before, but it is something that one isn’t typically used to hearing in deathcore. But then again, it’s not something that I would make a big hairy deal over because this album honestly isn’t anything special. If you are a deathcore fan, I would highly recommend checking this particular album out because it’s nothing short of a good addition to the ol’ deathcore collection. But for those of you deathcore nerds, don’t expect anything you haven’t heard before. I would give Nightmare on Providence St. 12/20 for just being another deathcore record.