The early 2000s hosted a time period in history when rock subgenres like post-hardcore, nu metal, and alternative metal were the frontrunners of popular music. While hundreds of artists were churning out incredible music to fall into these categories, only a handful of them saw true success. Swedish band Blindside may have not reached the masses the way their good friends P.O.D. did, but their 2002 album Silence put them on the map. Produced by mastermind Howard Benson (who also worked on records like P.O.D.’s Satellite, Hoobastank’s The Reason, and My Chemical Romance’s Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge), Silence would cement Blindside’s place as an unsung hero in this era of rock and roll.
Unlike a lot of albums that ebb and flow throughout, Silence roars in like a high speed train. Right out of the gate until over halfway through the record, these Swedish lads put the pedal to the metal and never stop for any sort of breather. The opening track “Caught a Glimpse” comes out swinging. Almost instantaneously, lead singer Christian Lindskog commands attention, gripping tightly to the lyrics with his broken but mighty vocals. The first song of an album’s track list can often make or break the tone of the entire listening experience, and the quiet guitar-led melody that leads into absolute chaos proves then and there that Blindside means business.
This plunges them directly into potentially the most popular song of their career, “Pitiful.” It not only resonates with Blindside fans because of its pounding, heavy melody, but also because of its thought provoking, spiritual lyrics: “Now your eyes are the only thing that can save me. I’m still afraid of them piercing. You’re breaking into my prison (just pretended for a while). My soul is dying, I won’t look away.” Lindskog’s tattered, heart wrenching voice screaming “Pitiful, so pitiful” paints the picture of someone consumed in their brokenness, crying out for some sort of relief from their torture.
“Sleepwalking” follows “Pitiful,” bringing a whole new layer of intensity to the table. In theme with the track title, the guitars wail like a siren throughout the verses and bridge. The song feels high pitched and urgent, building to the moment where Lindskog sings “One day this world will see me at the horizon. One day from a distant light. And just before I stand to face my love, I’ll turn around, and with a smile I’ll say my goodbyes. Just one last goodbye…” And with a gritty yawp says one more “goodbye” as the instrumentalists grind out an earthquake-inducing break down.
“Cute Boring Love” shows the first glimpse of a slower pace, though it doesn’t last long before picking up in the chorus with that same ferocity found in songs prior. Addressing thoughts of confronting insecurities, the chorus cries out “Don’t you ever feel like glass—fragile, hurting, letting it pass? Don’t you think it’s time to trespass?” One element that could be considered the crowned jewel of this track is bass guitarist Tomas Näslund’s consistent, pace keeping thuds. Behind it come three more solid, equally energized tunes “The Endings,” “You Can Hide It,” and “Thought Like Flames.”
Though the eighth song on the album, “Time Will Change Your Heart,” still holds the same amount of energy as ones prior, it boasts a punk rock inspired aesthetic that makes it a transitional song on the record. It packs a quick but heavy punch, qualifying it as a deep cut gem. “Painting,” “Midnight,” “Come Back to Life,” and “She Shut Your Eyes” are the four songs that build the cool down bridge to the final track on the album. These songs are slightly forgettable compared to the previous eight songs, but they allow the listener to sit back and begin to relax as the final track, sharing the same name as the album, approaches.
“Silence” is the slow burn that finishes out the record, mirroring the same effect as a project like Pearl Jam’s ferocious second album Vs. with its meditative closer “Indifference.” Lindskog’s voice sounds slightly distorted and tinny, feeling almost like he’s singing into a broken microphone. Unlike the rest of the record, where his voice is massive, shredded, and explosive, he sings the lyrics to “Silence” with a breathy, haunting vocal. Accompanied by acoustic instruments, Blindside finishes their face melting album with an emotive, poignant moment expressing an unexplainable love. “It’s common knowledge that you’ve been dead for a while. It’s well known that the cross is only a burden with pains and trials. But then again how come my shoes are so light? How come I can walk for miles and still just love you?”
18 years after its release, Silence still holds as much tangible emotion and spirit within its 13 tracks as it did in 2002. Blindside may not be written in the stars like some of their comrades, but this album proves their musical talent and represents so many bands that were overlooked during that time. The fire and zeal in Silence will continue to remain in tact for years to come, keeping Blindside relevant for future generations of listeners and fans.