Musicalypse has been following Blind Channel since prior to their debut album, Revolutions, back in 2016 (see below). Even though most of us are a fair bit older than their target audience, the quality of music has never held them back from appealing to us, and their live shows are always so full of energy that it’s always been worth it to check them out. Their newest album’s titles is taken from their self-proclaimed genre, Violent Pop, and is released on March 6th, 2020.
The album opens with “Gun,” fulfilling Niko Moilanen‘s promise in our last interview that each album starter for (at least) the first three albums has a theme – the first album was “Bullet (With Your Name On It),” followed by “Trigger,” and now, of course, it culminates in the weapon itself. These have been some of the band’s most aggressive songs and “Gun” keeps up the tradition of a heavier, harsher intro with an almost djent-y vibe at times.
Many of the songs on this album have already been released as singles, so the next few tracks should be familiar to fans. “Over My Dead Body” was already released back in 2018, starting fast and hard but with gentler boy-band vocals in the verses. “Died Enough for You” is a bit emo lyrically and the hardest to get into as someone in their 30s but it nevertheless still makes an impact and likely makes a good connection in younger folk.
“Fever” is the newest release, which took a few listens to appreciate fully, but has a great catchy chorus and makes good use of the old adage, “cry me a river,” and will be really easy to groove along to live. “Timebomb” is another older single that features young Finnish songwriter and solo artist, Alex Mattson, though we’ve admittedly never been clear on what his influence is in the song. “Snake” featuring GG6 [aka Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson, Amaranthe] is a strong, harsh, and accusatory song about cheaters, full of anger coupled with excellent rhythms and really good rapping, some even done, surprisingly, by GG6 whilst growling.
High, choral vocals open “One of Us,” which is again one of the heavier, almost a touch thrashy, songs on the album, contrasting the choir style with a hint of drop beat and some of BC’s harshest vocals outside of what GG6 did in the previous track. “Enemies with Benefits” is already a clever wordplay that we’ve surprisingly never seen before, taking a slower tempo and including a lot of ambient sounds to create a really strong and modern atmosphere. “…drown ourselves in water under the bridge” is also another clever lyric that stood out on multiple listens.
The tempo picks up a bit again with “Love of Mine,” with a nice combination of heavy instruments and great electronic backing music. The harsher vocals in some of these songs adds a new layer that BC hasn’t tested out much prior to now but certainly works for them. “Feel Nothing” is a bit slower in tempo again, more melancholic but still powerful and emotive. The album feels to have burned out a lot of its anger at this point, now in a place that’s a bit more sad and jaded. The album ends with “Lanterns,” with the most straightforward hip-hop verses and an emotional feeling and works great as a closer. Lyrically it references the music industry and some of their experiences, like with Royal Republic (below). This track has a more positive outlook in the end, leaving the album on a nice note, but stops quite abruptly. It seems like there could have been more, but alas, all good things must come to an end, and this was a great closing song, like at the end of a movie.
If I have a real complaint about this album, it’s how short it is, clocking in at just over 35 minutes in total length. While the songs, as I already said, aren’t lyrically suited for someone in my personal life situation, the compositions and execution of the music are very strong across the board and the band is keeping up their style, blending genres expertly. Violent Pop may have the most rapping of all the albums so far, but balances this out with some of their heaviest sounds as well, making a complete package that works as an excellent next step for these guys. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing the release show at The Circus on April 25th, 2020!
Rating: 9/10, 4.5 stars
2. Over My Dead Body
3. Died Enough for You
5. Timebomb ft. Alex Mattson
6. Snake ft. GG6
7. One of Us
8. Enemies with Benefits
9. Love of Mine
10. Feel Nothing
Check out our past material from Blind Channel here:
2019 report: DEAD BY APRIL & BLIND CHANNEL w/ EMBER FALLS – Nosturi, Helsinki, 20.04.2019
2019 gallery: DEAD BY APRIL & BLIND CHANNEL w/ MY FAVOURITE NEMESIS & EMBER FALLS @ Nosturi, Helsinki, 20.04.2019
2019 festival: ROCKFEST – Hyvinkään Airport, Hyvinkää, 07-09.06.2019
2018 album release show report: BLIND CHANNEL w/ IKINÄ: Blood Brothers Release Show – Tavastia, Helsinki, 23.05.2018
2018 album release show gallery: BLIND CHANNEL w/ IKINÄ @ Tavastia, Helsinki, 23.05.2018
2018 interview: BLIND CHANNEL – Joel Hokka & Niko “Nc Enroe” Moilanen, Helsinki, 2018
2018 Blood Brothers review: (2018) Blind Channel: Blood Brothers
2018 festival: ROCKFEST – Lentokentta, Hyvinkää, 06-09.06.2018
2017 report (Eng, link inside to Fin): MACHINAE SUPREMACY w/ BLIND CHANNEL, ONE MORNING LEFT – Nosturi, Helsinki, 27.05.2017 (English)
2017 gallery: MACHINAE SUPREMACY w/ ONE MORNING LEFT & BLIND CHANNEL @ Nosturi, Helsinki, 27.05.2017
2017 report: AMARANTHE w/ BLIND CHANNEL & EMBER FALLS: Maximalism Tour – The Circus, Helsinki, 08.04.2017
2017 gallery: AMARANTHE w/ EMBER FALLS & BLIND CHANNEL: Maximalism Tour @ The Circus, Helsinki, 08.04.2017
2017 report: ROYAL REPUBLIC w/ BLIND CHANNEL – Nosturi, Helsinki, 04.02.2017
2017 gallery: ROYAL REPUBLIC w/ BLIND CHANNEL @ Nosturi, Helsinki, 04.02.2017
2016 album release show behind the scenes: BLIND CHANNEL: Behind the Scenes at the Revolutions CD Release Show @ Virgin Oil Co., Helsinki, 01.10.2016
2016 album release show report: BLIND CHANNEL w/ EMBER FALLS: Revolutions Release Show – Virgin Oil Co., Helsinki, 01.10.2016
2016 album release show gallery: BLIND CHANNEL w/ RUST N’ RAGE & EMBER FALLS @ Virgin Oil Co., Helsinki, 01.10.2016
2016 Revolutions review: (2016) Blind Channel: Revolutions
2016 interview: BLIND CHANNEL – Niko & Joel; South Park, 2016
2016 festival report: SOUTH PARK – Eteläpuisto, Tampere, 10-11.06.2016
2016 festival gallery: SOUTH PARK – Day 2 @ Eteläpuisto, Tampere, 11.06.2016
2016 festival report: EDGE:NORDIC FESTIVAL – Nosturi, Helsinki, 09-10.09.2016
2016 festival gallery: EDGE:NORDIC @ Nosturi, Helsinki, 09-10.09.2016
2016 festival behind the scenes: EDGE:NORDIC FESTIVAL: Backstage at Nosturi, 09-10.09.2016
Full gallery coming soon.
Listen along to the setlist on Spotify here:
We arrived during the break between Ikinä and Blind Channel, having unfortunately been running too late to catch Ikinä. However, we heard from Essi and Lene that they were, simply, outstanding.
We were pleased to see that both bands had a great selection of new merch – it was a good place to spend some money, and I appreciate that both bands were willing to play around or full-on ignore the ‘black shirts only’ rule.
Blind Channel was set to take the stage at 21:00, and they came out to an intro track before Niko “Nc Enroe” Moilanen shouted, “Dance, you rebels!” and they went straight into “Trigger”, the first track from the latest release. Right from the first notes, the energy was turned up to 11, but from the crowd, it was quite hard to find a good spot, as the mid-range of the mix was lost. We wandered around the venue a while, trying to find the optimal place, though it became difficult to navigate as the floor filled up with dancing fans.
By the second song, “Alone Against All”, the crowd had become so loud that it was getting hard to hear the band over them. It’s also become clear that the band has gotten comfortable and familiar with their material. “Deja FU” was played wonderfully, and both Nc Enroe and Joel Hokka were able to play around with the vocal lines, adding stylish embellishments here and there at their whim. It sounded great.
“Like a Brother” made for a nice live track, and the autotune in the vocals that rubbed me slightly the wrong way on the album actually sounded quite decent in a live scenario. Both vocalists seemed comfortable with the high notes, and had clear, gorgeous harmonization. Spaz Caroon, who is Enroe’s younger brother, did a shirtless guest appearance in “Elephant in the Room” – a song on which he had also made an appearance on the album.
By the time we hit the not-so-new-anymore single, “Sharks Love Blood”, the mix had finally balanced out. It took some time, but from here on our we could comfortably stand more or less anywhere and enjoy ourselves. The song was introduced with red lights and had some of the only fog pyros of the night. After that, it seemed prudent to slow down for a bit, so the band played their live debut of “Scream”, the song they wrote in honor of the late Chester Bennington [Linkin Park].
After a few more songs, there was another guest appearance: Johnny Parkkonen [ex-Santa Cruz], who came on stage to do some pretty nice guitar solos in “Giants.” This was by far the best song on the new album, and probably the best live song as well – it was very fun and dramatic, in a good and not overstated sort of way.
The first three quarters of the set was basically perfect and I was pleased to see that now that they have some more material, they’ve figured out how to put a good setlist together. However, I have to admit that I’m a bit tired of “Don’t” and would’ve liked to hear something else, such as “My Revolution” – possibly the best song on their first album that was sadly left out. Fortunately they only played the first verse/chorus or so before moving on. I don’t think I’ve heard their version of “Can’t Hold Us” live yet (or if I have, it was only once), so that was a nice addition. The latter had perhaps the cutest ‘circle pit’ of young girls. The metalhead in me was tempted to show them how it’s done, but in the end, I didn’t really want to be responsible for trampling anyone to death.
They followed this with “Out of Town” – it’s a nice song but proved to be rather drawn-out and repetitive, so it was good that they finished the main set with “Darker than Black.” Okay, maybe they haven’t mastered the art of perfecting setlists just yet, but they’ll get there. The encore began with a rather impressive drum solo by Tommi Lalli and then they played “IDFU”; Spaz Caroon also returned for this song. Again, this was disappointing, as “I.D.F.U.”, which while admirable in spirit, isn’t their best new song and I would’ve again liked to hear something else. However, they did end with “Wolfpack”, which is the best single from the new album, so at least they still closed things out on a high note.
It’s been an absolute ton of fun watching this band go from having no albums, learning the ropes of live shows, touring with many bands, and finally releasing two of their own albums. Though this release tour is short and sweet around Finland, these guys will be at a ton of festivals this year, including RockFest and Tuska, so rest assured, this will not be the last you hear about Blind Channel from us. They’ve really stepped up their game and all I really see is vast improvement in their already excellent live presence. I see these guys going nowhere but to the top, and we don’t want to miss any of the journey!
3. Jalat kantaa
6. Et Pelkää
8. Kylmääkin kylmempää
9. Vaatteet päältä
10. Magic Mike
Blind Channel setlist:
2. Alone Against All
3. Deja FU
4. Like a Brother
5. Elephant in the Room (ft. Spaz Caroon)
6. Sharks Love Blood
8. Enemy for Me
9. My Heart is a Hurricane
10. Giants (ft. Johnny Parkkonen)
11. Bullet (With Your Name on It)
12. Don’t [Ed Sheeran cover]
13. Can’t Hold Us [Mackelmore cover]
14. Darker than Black
Photos: Miia Collander]]>