Blinded by Faith – Chernobyl Survivor

by Brett Stevens
May 13, 2013 –

blinded_by_faith-chernobyl_survivorBlinded by Faith shape melodic metal out of the combined styles approach that The Haunted first used, complete with over-the-top vocals, and show an aptitude for writing fluid melodic riffs that don’t end up as saccharine floods of very similar patterns.

Chernobyl Survivor stands out for having these melodic patterns emerge from the otherwise chaotic stream of mixed-genre elements and dominating vocals. Within all of what’s going on, which is a lot of fast-fingered frenzied riffing in the style of technical metalcore bands like Ulcerate, what emerges is the ability that Blinded by Faith has to write melodies and then expand upon them. They also have a really good nose for rhythm and how to match riffs and rhythm to make a song.

The best bands to compare to Blinded by Faith are Ulcerate or Cosmogenesis-era Obscura, but Blinded by Faith appears to be pulling away from the strict metalcore approach that Obscura in particular has taken. I realize “metalcore” isn’t a definition and that most people refer to Ulcerate and Obscura as “tech-deth” bands. It’s an anti-definition, meaning stuff that uses metal riffs but isn’t metal, because it reflects how those riffs are put together. Metal bands use their riffs to glue each other together, commenting on each other and furthering evolution. Rock bands use riffs like foundations, as something to build upon with vocals and other instruments, and don’t expect them to comment on each other. In fact, they like them to be radically different for a sense of change, and rely on harmony (key, scale) to make them fit together. This is why all rock-based music with metal riffs is probably going to be metalcore, much like all rock-based music with punk riffs became post-hardcore and eventually developed all of the tropes we see in metalcore today. Blinded by Faith is reversing this metalcore tendency by making their metal riffs comment on each other, kind of like themes in 1950s musicals, but more intense!

This CD could be many things. Chernobyl Survivor could easily be made into an amazing power metal album. It has elements of the old (real) death metal as well, and could also go the other way and be a killer jazz-prog album like At War With Self. Right now, it’s searching for the next evolution of its voice somewhere in the middle of these.

On the whole, Blinded by Faith have put together an album that helps nudge this style closer toward figuring out who or what it is, which is good because the tech-deth/metalcore explosion is running out of steam. If they continue in this direction, they could claim a place in the next evolution of popular music and be recognized for their strength in writing melodic riffs.

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19 comments

  • Tralf

    Though the uber-slick aesthetic is grating, I have to give this band credit for being more compositionally adventurous than bands in the same style, like Mors Principium Est. Their formula works: start out with a djent rhythm, gradually embellish it with layers of guitar trills and synths, which then gives way to the soaring harmonies of the power metal segment, and then deconstruct back to the djent riff.

  • fallot

    Metalcore is way too broad a term. Even as an anti-definition or w/e, it works for us but is it understandable by people visiting the site after exposure to other metal websites?

    1. bitterman

      I agree, metalcore is too broad a term. The Ulcerate example listed in the article is an interesting thing to note: the techniques used to make their music are most similar to something like Cult of Luna (far removed from death metal), what people refer to as post-sludge (like Neurosis) dressed up with blast beats and growls (from death metal), but what should that be called? Like how people at first couldn’t seem to figure out if Paradise Lost’s Lost Paradise is death metal, death-doom, or just doom metal with growl vocals; or what separates Thergothon from Paradise Lost even. This will need a lot of cross examination before any more confusion over modern “metal” arises.

      1. Brett Stevens Post author

        I’m in agreement here. We need to look at composition, not aesthetics, or we get misled. This is why the FAQ says doom metal isn’t a genre; it’s either slow death metal, or slow heavy metal. There’s no musical differentiation.

  • Speed Metal Guy

    Why not talk about Speed Metal instead? These bands have at least one album worthy of any Hessian’s attention:
    ARTILLERY, IRON ANGEL
    OVERKILL, ABATTOIR , WHIPLASH
    BLESSED DEATH , EXUMER , CYCLONE
    HALLOWS EVE , NASTY SAVAGE , HOLY MOSES
    SAVAGE STEEL , NO MERCY, INDESTROY
    ACCUSER , PRIMAL SCREAM , TARGET
    TURBO , TAURUS , FLOTSAM AND JETSAM
    DEATHWISH , ACROPHET , POWERMAD
    HYDRA VEIN , HEXENHAUS , FAITH OR FEAR
    FORCED ENTRY , REDRUM , POLTERGEIST
    XENTRIX , SHAH , NAPALM
    PARADOX , ANIMOSITY ,MASTER FURY
    INTRUDER , EVILDEAD , SLAMMER
    RE-ANIMATOR , STYGIAN , CORPSE
    SILENCE , AFFLICTION

      1. bitterman

        Out of all of those, I recommend Overkill’s The Years of Decay and Horrorscope albums as well as Abstract Reality by Nasty Savage who most noticeably influenced Florida Death Metal in Nocturnus. Xentrix was one of Road Racer’s bay area/Metalliclone bands (from the U.K.) before they switched gears to death metal and changed the label name to Roadrunner. Forced Entry I can tell you is a musical joke, sounding like what would happen if (insert bay area band here) stalled their own momentum by throwing random bluesy Metallica ballad tribute sections in the mix, as well as eventually adopting “crossover-isms” like D.R.I. Thrashzone esque songs with lyrics about drinking and whatnot to make the “fun” songs on the album. Think of them as Sacred Reich with bipolar disorder.

        1. bitterman

          Also, I recommend Forbidden’s Twisted into Form whose ideas preempted what bands like At the Gates on Terminal Spirit Disease and later bands like Darkane would use. More importantly though, was the unreleased material that they scrapped to make their Pantera gone prog 3rd album Distortion; I’m talking about the Trapped demo (also Disillusions demo 1992), whose ideas preempted what Cynic would later attempt on their Roadrunner demo and use of the prog elements that Death applied to the Human album on tracks like Lack of Comprehension or Cosmic Sea that everyone called “unique”.

  • tiny midget

    If you walk into a Gojira concert and someone in the pit is haranguing at the crowd and all you can hear are a couple of vague words out of any context: “metalcore is not metal” and “liberalism is a mental illness”… YOU know that’s Brett Stevens right away!

      1. Concerned Citizen

        Could this website please refer to Gojira as Al Gore metal?

        At least later Sentenced gets you coked up goth club bitches without pretending to have a message:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVuR8pwrbXs

        Now that’s what I call background music! Music I don’t like that doesn’t offend me by imitating something I like!

        1. Brett Stevens Post author

          Is that fair to Al Gore?

          I think of it as slacktivist metal. The whales are still dying, but at least we felt for them.

          As opposed to the Slayer solution which is, “Someone’s killing whales? Send in the B-52s.”

      2. shoko asahara

        FYI – DM.org/ANUS/DLA/Brett quoted in Decibel magazine article regarding Metal Archives and metal eugenics.

          1. shoko asahara

            I could not see it on their site, but it is the June 2013 issue. The Carcass interview regarding Heartwork was fairly interesting.

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