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Blind Ego – Preaching To The Choir Award winner

Blind Ego
Preaching To The Choir
by Mike McMahan at 10 February 2020, 2:20 PM

From the album promo information: “For me this band is pure raw energy. It’s about blind understanding. When you get the right people on board, there is no need for lengthy explanations. You just hit the recording button. And when you then give the right musicians the right music…that’s when they help you take it to the next level.” -Kalle Wallner

This is the fourth release from RPWL guitarist Kalle Wallner’s solo/side project BLIND EGO. The previous albums, “Mirror” (2007), “Numb” (2009), and “Liquid” (2016), all featured a different lineup of musicians. So after a live CD/DVD combo, a club headlining tour, and various festivals, Wallner announced the forthcoming “Preaching to the Choir,” featuring the same musicians he had worked with live, to be released on the 14th of February.

The band functions together well, perhaps a product of the above-mentioned touring, and the result is an absolutely astonishing bit of music. I have, since beginning of writing reviews, been assigned some extraordinary work from some extraordinary musicians. This one stands out above any other that I have had the pleasure to hear.

The album opener, “Massive,” is an impressive blend of straight-forward heavy metal and the progressive sound that we are used to from Kalle. From its thundering intro onward, you get the feeling here that the intent was perhaps to record more of a rock album and concentrate less on his progressive nature. There are classic time signature changes and the same musical intensity, however, throughout the record.

The track “Preaching to the Choir” has even more of a full-on heavy metal sound, and features an absolutely blistering, multi-faceted guitar solo over the top of Balaban’s repeated theme “Here I come…” The albums most progressive sounding cut, “Line in the Sand,” has an eerie sounding, almost industrial keyboard intro. It stands alone, in my ear, as the only song I would truly classify “Prog-Metal.”

Other stand-out tracks, particularly “Burning Alive,” “Dark Paradise,” and my favorite song on the album, “Broken Land,” are impressive sounding, melodic, and almost radio friendly. The latter contains the lyric “muddied boots on bloody sand, life for sale on broken land.” My understanding is that Scott Balaban handled the lion’s share of the lyrical content of this record, and he should feel extremely proud of that. The songs are heartfelt and as well-crafted as anything in the genre.

Kalle still handles most of the instrumentation on the record, as Harnack and Kellner are listed as “additional” musicians (with only Christoph and Balaban getting full credit for their duties), and his ability shines. I would love to see this lineup in a live setting, however, to see him concentrate on throttling the guitar and letting the others take care of their own end. I’m certain that experience would be as impressive, or more so, than any I’m prone to have anytime soon.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Massive
2. Preaching to the Choir
3. Burning Alive
4. Line in the Sand
5. Dark Paradise
6. In Exile
7. Heading for the Stars
8. Broken Land
9. The Pulse
Lineup:
Kalle Wallner – Guitars/Bass/Keyboards/Programming
Scott Balaban – Vocals
Michael Christoph – Drums
Sebastian Harnack – Bass
Julian Kellner – Guitars
Record Label: Gentle Art of Music
     


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Edited 15 August 2020
 

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