This in turn, fuels a certain sense of bias, as when it comes to another love of mine; the EUROVISION SONG CONTEST...I tend to make a B-Line for Finland’s entries instead of supporting the UK, and I’m rarely disappointed. Whether we’re enjoying the over-the-top ridiculousness of LORDI, and their monstrously charismatic stage presence. The up-tempo dance-along qualities of pop-starlet SAARA AALTO, and this year, THE RASMUS hit us with another vibrant dose of light alternative emo courtesy of their new track “Jezebel”. This brings us to today’s artist; BLIND CHANNEL.
Blind Channel represented Finland at the 2021 ESC and, it’s the first competition I’d missed in years, because I had double booked myself in Manchester for a socially distanced gig. Disgraceful behaviour I know! Their song “Dark Side”, which effortlessly blended anthemic gang vocals, subtle nu-metal throwbacks and hip-hop aesthetics finished an incredibly respectable 6th in the grand final and the lads found themselves a global audience. 2022 finds the Finns capitalising on this with their brand-new album, and having just rounded up a run of UK tour dates, let’s remind ourselves why they live the “Lifestyles Of The Sick & Dangerous” …
The album opens up with “Opinions”, and just like arse holes, everyone’s got one, I just tend to write mine here, regardless of if you agree! I digress. It initially starts as a sort of cold, icy-synth led trap-beat with their more rap-infused vocal delivery, but they switch between more hip-hop stylistics and more aggressive flows while performing, keeping it fresh.
The chorus is soft and melodic and overall, as an opener, it would easily appease fans of HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD. Conceptually it’s about living life to your own rhythm, without caring for what anyone else believes, or thinks, march to the beat of your own drum, and that philosophy has done them well to their credit.
Next up we have the aforementioned ESC track “Dark Side” and, while over a year old now, those nu-metal qualities simply shine. It references the outcasts of life, of society, referencing the album title and things such as the infamous 27-club, hinting at a sense of unpredictability in life; a certain rebelliousness and defiance in the face of the norm and it’s like a rallying cry. Wonderful stuff.
To be fair, the album contains its fair share of absolute bops despite its mere half an hour run time, so it’s nice to see the lads opting for quality over quantity. The single “Bad Idea” shows the band have a tender side to counter their hip-hop-inspired abrasiveness, with more focus on hushed vocal styles, and a softer, mellower instrumental approach, and it works really well; look at the Blindstreet Boys by here mun! “We Are No Saints” again utilises gang-vocals and light synths, but it becomes this incredibly bold, semi-metalcore banger, with some soaring hooks and some good old-fashioned chuggy riffs.
“Don’t Fix Me” and closing track “Thank You For The Pain” utilise strong pop-punk aesthetics for a real burst of up-beat energy, especially the former, though while the latter is equally fun, with some quirky lyrical jabs, it’s let down only by its own ending. It might mean something to the lads, but, ending the album on spoken word ramblings, especially in a language you are yet to understand, it sort of takes away from the overall listening experience.
That end segment is pretty much as bad as it gets truth be told. Sure “National Heroes” as an interlude has its place as it segues into a track, following a narrative, but it doesn’t need to be a track of its own...and “Autopsy” is arguably the weakest track on the record here, for its overall lack of life...which is fitting I suppose. Conceptually however it does fit in very well with the album's themes of integrity and self-respect, self-worth and it can’t really be knocked.
Ultimately, what we have here, is an energetic, confident and acclaimed group of young rockers from Finland, who won the hearts and ears of millions during a mainstream televised song contest, with a rebellious attitude, a mature sense of defiance in the face of industry big-wigs, and the ability to go and actually do it. With those middle fingers up, they stand proud, and while the music itself might not be original, it’s as full of heart as it is hooks, and that goes a long way. The future is bright for Blind Channel...I just hope they don’t lose sight of what they are capable of.