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Nightblade – Ignorance Is Bliss

Nightblade
Ignorance Is Bliss
by Santiago Puyol at 06 April 2020, 3:49 PM

NIGHTBLADE is a British Alternative Rock and Post-Grunge band. Formed in 2010, the band has released three albums so far, "Ignorance is Bliss" being their last, following 2013 "Closer to the Threshold". With a modern sound, the band takes on cues from the 80’s and 90’s alternative scenes and expands on them. This 10-track, 55-minute collection of songs packs many lengthy and meandering compositions.

The album gets started with the title-track. Some nasty and playful riffing makes the backbone of "Ignorance is Bliss". It is an expansive, even if a bit repetitive, opener. Although it makes for a high-energy and catchy start, it could have been a little shorter. Mark Crosby vocals are a bit reminiscent of the gnarly side of Axl Rose from the 90’s, with a dash of Anthony Kiedis conversational style.

"Steering the Wheel" comes next, a mid-tempo rocker with Post-Grunge vibes. Its driving rhythm pound along. The song has a powerful chorus with a cynical feel that makes it stand out. In between the three- and four-minute mark, on its bridge, it falls into heavier territory, getting even darker.

A deep bassline carries over bits from "Steering the Wheel’s" main vocal line into "Only You", making both songs flow nicely. Tim Cutcliffe’s bass appears on the forefront here. NIGHTBLADE succeed in building tension on the verses, releasing it on another powerful, emotional chorus. The songwriting is strong enough to guarantee the song does not feel overlong in spite of clocking just over six minutes.

Two lengthy tracks, over the seven-minute mark, sit in the middle of the record. A strong one-two punch that make for the best section on the album. "Never Take For Granted" comes first, with its beautiful clean guitar intro. Crosby’s vocals evoke a mournful and heartfelt Mikael Åkerfeldt here. Some noisy guitar bits add a nice texture. A sprawling ballad with emotional soloing that fully explodes into the last minute, with noisier distortion and pounding bass, while Rich Lawley lets loose on his drum kit. Then comes "What If", opening with some weird, almost random samples (a car, broken glass, water, etc.). A funky yet slightly menacing bassline courtesy of Cutcliffe anchors the track. Some RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and even PRIMUS vibes appear here. It is a dark, memorable song, easy to listen despite its length.

NIGHTBLADE follow the intense middle point of the album with three simpler, less memorable tracks, that still manage to be quite effective. "Further from the Truth" has some 80’s Glam touches and really tight playing from the whole band. "Take Me As I Am" is a bit repetitive and returns to the Post-Grunge sound. "Immune to It All" has a nice groove and rich textured sound.

"Find the Strength Within" follows a similar pattern to "Never Take For Granted", returning to the combo of vulnerable vocals and echoey guitars. There are even touches of piano this time around. A great change of pace for the album and palate cleanser before "Stop", a fun rocker that ends the album with high energy.

The production aspects could have improved from a little less compression, especially on the softer and slower tracks. In addition, a couple of tracks might have benefitted from a little editing. Still, "Ignorance is Bliss" is a solid and fun record, with some memorable tracks, emotional moments and splendid musicianship.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Ignorance is Bliss
2. Steering the Wheel
3. Only You
4. Never Take For Granted
5. What If
6. Further from the Truth
7. Take Me As I Am
8. Immune to It All
9. Find the Strength Within
10. Stop
Lineup:
Mark Crosby – Vocals
Tim Cutcliffe – Bass
Sam Morse – Guitar
Rich Lawley – Drums
Record Label: Skyfire Records
     


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