Review Summary: Intricacy and creativity abound as Polish metal band Blindead produce an album that will captivate progressive enthusiasts universally.
Hailing from Poland and playing decidedly progressive and dark metal, Blindead are one of those rare bands that craft complex and dynamic material, yet often go unnoticed within the overcrowded prog metal scene. They try to distance themselves from the rest of the pack by shedding some of the traditional song structures so often overdone in metal, in favor of a captivating style that is both complex and unique.
On Absence, emphasis is placed on all instruments, rather than solely on the guitars. The guitar play certainly does stand out when it needs to but does so in a subtle way, providing melodic and clear themes that the rest of the band can build upon, as this is a band that truly fires on all cylinders when each instrument works in tandem to give the listener a complex and dynamic sound. Surprisingly enough, riffing is not top priority here, guitar play on Absence is all about setting a mood, painting an emotional picture for the listener, developing the kind of dark and brooding atmosphere that many would refer to as doom. Subject matter on the album tackles various foreboding feelings such as hopelessness and death, and yet the band still finds a way to make the music alluring and strong.
The rhythm section stands very prominently next to the guitars, with extremely audible and infectiously grooving bass lines accompanied by a well rounded and creative drum performance, and to top it all off we are given a very strong vocal performance. The vocalist shows good range with a powerful and clear voice, and he can also shout in an aggressive manner when the music calls for it. The Music on Absence is primarily played within a mid to slow tempo, with only one song entitled S1 showing some slight speed. This is not to say that the album chugs along at a crawl though, as there are many twists and turns that will surprise and hold the interest of the listener.
At just under sixty minutes, Absence might be a lot to swallow for first time listeners. The material may take several listens to fully appreciate, but such is the case with most conceptual and progressive albums. Be prepared for the album to grow and make more sense with each subsequent listen, and try not to analyze it to thoroughly upon your first experience with it. Absence will all make sense in due time.