Review Summary: With their first full length since The Great Depression, released almost six years prior, Blindside managed to bring their most cohesive album yet. With Shivering Hearts we Wait did not prove, however, to be their best album.
No fan of Blindside could tell you, with honesty, that 2002's Silence was a mistake. Silence was easily their most widely loved album and it far surpassed their first two nearly forgotten albums. What can be said about Silence, though, is that while it eclipsed the past two albums, it also made the following two albums slight disappointments in the hearts of many fans. About a Burning Fire was well liked, but many were quick to point out that they enjoyed Silence more. By 2005 when Blindside released the aptly titled The Great Depression they were kind of like some unfortunate aspiring comedian that has to follow up Louis CK; the issue is that Blindside is both Louis CK and his following act in this analogy. "Tough crowd, tough crowd," would have been a fair sentiment for the band to hold over their fans' response.
Until 2011, the only thing Blindside provided fans with was The Black Rose EP in 2008. This was hardly enough to whet the appetite of most, but many did appreciate the signs that they were turning from the sound they exhibited on The Great Depression. From 2008 on fans waited patiently through false release dates and much uncertainty, until finally: With Shivering Hearts we Wait.
The album begins with one of the strongest tracks they've released since their inception, "There Must be Something in the Water." The track is relatively heavy, and has a perfect balance of Christian Lindskog's screaming and singing. The chorus is strong and driving, and when the song reaches the bridge the band switches up their game with an instrumental interlude consisting of the intro with some strings added in. The outro is one of the coolest things the band has ever done, with strings, guitars, and drums working together to create the closest thing to an "epic" sound Blindside has ever attempted.
The tracks "My Heart Escapes" and "It's all I Have" do a great job exhibiting the melodic aspect of Blindside, but alas tucked between them is a track more worth mentioning (for better, or for for worse.) "Monster on the Radio," is clearly meant to be the most radio friendly song on the album, while Christian sarcastically sings about how much he would give to be a popular radio star. Despite being ironical, the song does succeed in being catchy but it may turn off many fans.
"Our Love Saves Us" is an unusual track for Blindside. They've always put emphasis on their choruses, but in this song the chorus is even more of a focus. Even the instruments take a back seat to the vocal melody, as the guitars and drums are quite minimal in this song. But is the chorus worthy of so much focus" Yes, it certainly is. It is an emotionally charged song sung to a loved one who the vocalist has obviously been through some turmoil with, and it is carried out very well.
The next track "Bring out Your Dead" does a decent job showing off Blindside's ability to still pull of a solid post-hardcore song. "Withering," and "Cold," return to the melodic hard rock sound that defines most of the songs on the album. The majority of "Cold" could probably fit somewhere in the middle of Silence and actually add to the quality of the album. The album closes with a seven minute song "There Must be Something in the Wind." This song is probably the closest the album comes to being "soft" but it is never boring. They experiment more with the electronic sounds you might remember from some tracks off of The Great Depression. The song works really well, and is the perfect closer.
While this is their most cohesive album to date, Blindside certainly doesn't have anything quite at the level as "Pitiful" or "All of Us" on With Shivering Hearts We Wait. Lyrically, they cover territories that are familiar to the band. The lyricist seems to focus more on romantic turmoil in this effort than in previous efforts, but it works really well. The first and last songs have spiritual undertones, as with many of their past songs and the band remains as poetic as ever before.
People who are new to the band should definitely start elsewhere. If you enjoyed their past three albums, and haven't yet, give this a good listen or two. If you decide you aren't a fan of the whole album, you will most likely thoroughly enjoy a few of the tracks at least.
Recommended tracks: "There Must be Something in the Water," "My Heart Escapes," "Our Love Saves Us," and "There Must be Something in the Wind."