Affliction XXIX II MXMVI is the third album from Polish post rock band Blindead, which is the brainchild of ex Behemoth guitarist Mateusz “Havoc” Smierzchalski. Mateusz started the project back in 1999 and when things got more serious, Blindead started to record their first album; Devouring Weakness in 2006, followed by Autoscopia/Murder In Phazes in 2008.
Now in 2011, it was the time for a serious concept album, which is basically one long composition, divided into seven tracks. They could have named the songs; track one to track seven, but in a creative way, they used only one sentence, split into seven parts. Self-Consciousness Is Desire After 38 Weeks My New Playground Became It Feels Like Misunderstanding All My Hopes and Dreams Turn Into Affliction XXVII II MMIX is the extended title of the album, which tells the story about a girl suffering from a mental illness.
Listening to the album, you will notice the post rock mathematics, repeating riffs and furious double bass drums compete with the dark growls and grunts, while the electronica does its work just slightly underneath the surface of the complexity of the compositions. Personally, I am not fond of the complex chaos, that represents a decent post rock album and I don't have problems with a grunt once in a while. When the grunts suit a composition, like they did on the last James LaBrie album Static Impulse, there is no reason not to get into my personal top ten. But I am afraid Blindead will not be in my list at the end of the year. The album has its positive points. In the slower parts sung at a normal voice, I do really like their music, but when vocalist Patryk Zwolinski gets angry and starts to grunt-for me-the illusion starts to wear of and my thoughts start to drift into other places/music. Composition wise, the difference created in spheres and moods, has been done quite well.
I have listened to the album several times and every time I wanted to start writing this review, I wanted to give the album another chance, so the CD went back in the CD player of my car, or back in my PC just to give it another shot. The outcome, for me is kind of two faced. On one hand, I like the complexity and great vocal parts, but on the other hand, I don't like the chaos and grunting vocal parts. In the end, the chaos and grunts take away a lot of fun I had listening to the parts I liked. As a conclusion I have to say: “sorry guys, this is not the music I like to listen to, but as a post rock album, I think Affliction XXX II MXMVI will find its way to the fans”.
** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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