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In the four years that have passed since Blindside released its last project the now seminal hard rock band hasn’t been all that visible on American soil, but was certainly busy on the international front as well as behind the scenes. For starters, the Swedish foursome that still boasts all its original members after a decade and a half in the game have toured the world over, visiting Europe, Australia, South Africa, Singapore and Thailand, while utilizing the breaks in between to spend time starting families. Though the break between albums has been nothing short of painstaking for the group’s faithful fans (it’s been six years since Blindside’s last long player The Great Depression), the trip through different cultures, followed by a recharging of members’ personal batteries, was the best recipe for artistic evolution.
“After touring in support of the Black Rose EP internationally, we set different priorities in our lives, taking time with our wives and kids and living a more regular schedule,” verifies front man Christian Lindskog. “We’ve been living a different life for the past few years, but have always remained friends within the band. When we decided it was time to make another record, everyone’s perspective was really renewed and we’re super pumped right now to be doing the band again. We just needed to break away from music for a bit because it starts to define who you are when you should be finding it in a higher purpose.”
With their families’ full support and a refined spiritual vision, Blindside went back to the drawing board for its most compelling collection to date. With Shivering Hearts We Wait marks its inaugural album for INO Records/Sony, while also serving as a reunion with super producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Papa Roach, Flyleaf), who helmed the Elektra Records collections Silence (2002) and About a Burning Fire (2004) that spawned everything from appearances on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and World Wrestling Entertainment, to collaborating with Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan.
“We had been aware of INO through their partnership with our manager, and they proved to be a great partner,” explains guitarist Simon Grenehed. “We had a demo in the works that we felt really strongly about and we sent it to Howard Benson, who really liked what he heard and expressed interest in working with us again. In addition to that being very cool of him, it gave us the confidence to come back a lot more musically inspired.”
The results find the band turning in some of its most aggressive creative strides to date, coupled with a newfound accessibility sure to expand the group’s already sizeable worldwide fan base. “The similarities between With Shivering Hearts We Wait and past projects is that we’re always striving to get the right songs for a project and the spirit is still Blindside,” assures Christian. “But this album is very different in the sense that it took us a lot longer to write and record it. We used to get everyone in a room and start jamming, but this time we started with an acoustic framework that as eventually translated into rock n’ roll songs.”
Adds Simon: “There are definitely some new elements, such as putting strings or an electronic sound over a really bombastic song. We wanted to make the record sound big and didn’t feel like there were any boundaries. On the flipside, some of the songs are almost frighteningly poppy, but it still feels right. I think that because the songwriting process took so long, it makes the band and record as a whole seem really united.”
A classic case in point comes on the parallel relationship between the commanding opener “There Must Be Something In the Water” and the epic finale “There Must Be Something In the Wind.” The first chronicles a main character gasping for figurative air when he tries to make everything happen by himself, but after he trusts the current, finds the resolve to press on. The latter speaks about giving up a burden being carried around for a long time and receiving peace at the moment of surrender.
In between, the guys unveil additional facets of their journey over the last several years, including the self-examination anthem “Withering,” which begins by tracing humanity’s attempts at unattainable perfection. From a strictly fist-pumping perspective, “Monster on the Radio” is sure to be a format-shattering alternative rock ambition, loaded with massive power chords and a contagious chorus.
“We don’t really write a record with a specific theme in mind, but after it’s done, you can look at all the songs and see how they reflect what we’ve been experiencing,” confides Christian. “The whole idea of With Shivering Hearts We Wait comes from the fact that we’ve been away for quite awhile, and while it’s scary to get out there again, we’re also super excited and there’s an element of expectancy for what’s in store. Sometimes you get a shiver down your spine when you’re scared, sometimes it happens when you’re waiting for something beautiful and other times it happens when you hear a song.”
Chances that’s exactly how With Shivering Hearts We Wait will greet longtime listeners, who have quite literally waited with baited breath for Blindside’s next musical offering. With a promise to tour extensively throughout both America and overseas, no one will be left out of the highly anticipated reconvening.
“We’re just anxious to get this record out, but long term, we’re just kind of waiting to see what happens,” sums up Simon. “Just the fact that we’re together again is the best part because when you’re a band, you become a family. This isn’t about being rock stars on a stage, but about everyone in the room where you’re playing experiencing something together, which is something that no amount of time off will ever let you forget.”
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