Release DetailsLABEL Deathwish Inc
RELEASED ON 3/9/2004
The Blinding Light
The Ascension Attempt
posted on 12/2004 By:
In a time when most any band can toss together some down-tuned and distorted power chords, scream a lot, play drums fast and loud, and call it ‘extreme music’ of one form or another, it is becoming increasingly rare to hear a band that stays within the confines of the metal/hardcore (yes, I’ll say it – metalcore) framework while bringing something new, innovative, or exciting to the table. The Blinding Light, however, are one of those underground musical rarities who have managed to do just that; through a combination of tasteful ‘underproduction’ reminiscent of Crowpath’s Red On Chrome, some slower, grooving riffage hinting at some Pantera influence, and throaty, shouted vocals, The Blinding Light provides a breath of fresh air to all those who’ve grown jaded with the current state of ‘hardcore’ or ‘metalcore’ or whatever you want to call it. The Blinding Light has released an album that stands out from the pack of metalcore (soon to be mallcore) bands waiting to be swept away by the current of promoters and labels keying in on the growing mainstream popularity of metal and hardcore.
Released on Jacob Bannon’s (Converge) record label Deathwish Inc., it's less surprising that like Converge, The Blinding Light have moved away from the spotless, overproduced and more importantly, overdone sound that so many bands claim as their own. The songs on The Ascension Attempt aren’t ultra-technical or complicated, but that’s a good thing; starting with the crushing heaviness of the opening track “Wake Up/The Wind Up” it is obvious that these guys have a sound of their own. Again, this is due partially to the more abrasive and rough-around-the-edges recording, but there is an instrumentally-induced sense of disarray that provides a more challenging listen than a release that is clean and sparkly and has everything in its ‘right place’, wherever that may be. This album feels more like a very well recorded live release than a studio session, and being a fan of live performances, as I’m sure many of you are, I enjoy hearing the added hint of imperfection and spontaneity that comes from a band rocking the fuck out. Having never seen The Blinding Light live I cannot say for fact just how much these guys let loose live, but I’d be willing to guess by what’s conveyed on their recording that there’s plenty of energy to their show.
The songs move from galloping, double pedal-driven metal-tinged hardcore on par with 100 Demons to unhurried, tumultuous breakdowns with shrieking guitars and vocals. The track “Hydrant” even opens with a southern sludge feel to it that continues for the first three minutes or so until erupting into a frenzy of low, palm muted guitars and more screams, but this time with a hint of melody behind them. As far as dynamics go, The Blinding Light manages to weave in some interesting clean guitar work using slow, haunting interludes that add a significant amount of depth to their songs. My only real criticism is that the last few songs are lacking the level of intensity heard on the album’s opening tracks, but this doesn’t detract too much from what is a very solid release overall.
So by no means is this metal in the traditional sense of the word (but these days what is?) but it is heavy, it’s pissed, and it’s a fun listen. The Ascension Attempt is not the most complicated or original piece of music in the scene today, but a willingness to shy away from the polished, overproduced sound that is heard more and more frequently helps to make this album what it is. I’m excited to see what else there is in store.
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