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
This year our nominations will be in their own separate playlists! You can follow them on Spotify:
1. Hevisaurus – “100” ft. everyone
2. Avantasia – “Moonglow” ft. Candice Night [Blackmore’s Night]
3. Brymir – “Anew” ft. Noora Louhimo [Battle Beast]
Okay, this is like picking an Ayreon song to win an award; it feels a bit unfair, but really, how could you possibly compete with a song like “100” by Hevisaurus that has, just to name a few, Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray), Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius), Daniel Freyberg (Children of Bodom), Kiko Loureiro (Megadeth), Iivo Kaipainen (Arion), Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun), and just… so many others. So many. And the song is epic AF. In all objectivity, I’m not sure this song really has any competitors.
One of the songs that came out so early in the year that I almost forgot about it was none other than the title track off Avantasia‘s new album, Moonglow. Candice Night hasn’t been in a compilation that we know of since 2004 with Helloween for “Light the Universe.” She’s a hidden gem in the music world and we’d love to see more of her out in the metal scene.
I left my third choice until the last minute because it was really tough to decide, but I think I’ll have to go with “Anew” by Brymir featuring Noora Louhimo. The song is pretty epic and powerful on its own, but Louhimo’s vocals add a little something extra into the mix to step it up to the next level.
Honorary mention(s): selected songs by De Lirium’s Order ft. Mikael Salo; “wonderful life” by Bring Me the Horizon ft. Dani Filth; “nihilist blues” by Bring Me the Horizon ft Grimes; “Raise Your Banners” by Within Temptation ft. Anders Fridén; “Goodbye Stranger” by Tarja ft. Cristina Scabbia
1. Alcest – “L’île des morts” ft. Kathrine Shepard [Sylvaine]
2. The Mute Gods – “One Day” ft. Alex Lifeson [Rush]
3. TheNightTimeProject – “Signals in the Sky” ft. Heike Langhans [Draconian, :LOR3L3I:]
Alcest’s “L’île des morts” is my favorite song from Spiritual Instinct, and adding to its greatness are the ethereal vocals by Kathrine Shepard of Sylvaine that elevate the atmospheric quality of the song up another notch.
The Mute Gods managed to get my biggest guitar hero, Alex Lifeson of Rush, to play acoustic guitar on “One Day,” and while his contribution may not be as distinct as, say, his guest solo on Porcupine Tree’s “Anesthetize,” he makes his mark on the track with his signature strumming.
TheNightTimeProject, the Swedish collective led by October Tide/ex-Katatonia guitarist Fredrik Norrman, brought in Heike Langhans of Draconian to sing on “Signals in the Sky,” and her voice really complements the music and suits the ghostly atmosphere.
1. Blind Channel – “Snake” ft. GG6 [Henrik Wilhelmsson, Amaranthe]
1. Avantasia – “Lavender” ft. Bob Catley [Magnum]
2. Avantasia – “Raven Child” ft. Hansi Kursch [Blind Guardian] & Jorn Lande [ex-Masterplan]
3. Avantasia – “Moonglow” ft. Candice Night [Blackmore’s Night]
Some might not consider Avantasia to be valid for collaborations, but if everyone else gets to do it, so do I! I admit that I am really into the new album, so it only makes sense that these were my favorite collaborations of 2019. First, “Lavender” is a fantastic upbeat song and Bob Catley‘s vocals really elevated it in the powerful singalong chorus and harmonize wonderfully with Tobias Sammet creating a song that is pure joy and happiness.
Next, “Raven Child” has not one, but two of the best vocalists in all of heavy metal, Hansi Kursch and Jorn Lande who should need no introduction and who (as far as I know) haven’t sang together since 01011001 by Ayreon. The song is pure epic and
Last there is “Moonglow,” which I’ve already nominated many times as it was one of my favorite songs this year. I love Avantasia and I love Candice Night, and thus the combination of the two turned out to be nothing less than pure gold.
Honorary mention(s): Everfrost – “Above the Treeline” ft. Asim Searah
1. Hevisaurus – “100”
2. Brymir – “Anew” ft. Noora Louhimo [Battle Beast]
3. Soilwork – “Needles and Kin” ft. Tomi Joutsen [Amorphis]
… [the songs echo through the valleys]
1. Tarja – “Dead Promises” ft. Bjorn Strid [Soilwork, The Night Flight Orchestra]
One of the coolest collaborations with two of the best voices in the business. This song is a vocal match made in metal heaven.
2. Meadows End – “Devilution” ft. Tommy Johansson [Sabaton]
Adding Tommy elevated this track to a complete new level. His solo gives this song energy, melody, power, and strength. Tommy gives power to the metal of this melodic metal track.
We’ve put each music video in a playlist on our YouTube account, which you can follow here:
1. Devin Townsend – “Genesis”
2. Everfrost – “Cold Night Remedy”
3. Cellar Darling – “Death” (or anything off The Spell)
First of all, I just want to say that Devin Townsend‘s music video for “Genesis” is a masterpiece. It’s so bizarre and yet somehow strangely perfect for the music and also what I perceive to be Townsend’s personality, that the whole thing is simultaneously brilliant, nonsensical, and not to be taken too seriously. It’s also just extremely visually pleasing.
Next is Everfrost‘s “Cold Night Remedy.” Seeing these guys dance about on the ice, and particularly Benji Connelly moonwalking with his keyboard, is just so delightful and fitting for the music that I can’t help but love it. Also, nonsense happy rocking out with a leg guitar in a sauna, and extremely tiny pants on a tall crane? Sure, why not? It’s great!
Lastly, if I was going to cheat I’d nominate Cellar Darling‘s entire The Spell album, because it was such an ambitious project, a great concept album, and Costin Chioreanu‘s artwork is a really great blend of gorgeous and eerie, ultimately making the whole album and concept come to life. Each song has a video done in this style bringing a new level to the story-telling in the concept. It’s hard to objectively pick which one is best because it’s like picking which song is best, so… here’s my favorite song from the album, “Death,” with its custom-made Chioreanu video:
Honorary mention(s): Metal de Facto – “Conqueror”; Hevisaurus – “100; anything by Belzebubs
1. Belzebubs – “Cathedrals of Mourning”
2. Rammstein – “Deutschland”
3. Devin Townsend – “Genesis”
This is the most Finnish thing ever made. Belzebubs is, of course, the fictional black metal band from the eponymous comic strip series by JP Ahonen. The “Cathedrals of Mourning” music video has everything. It starts out moody and downright badass with it’s Immortal-inspired visuals of the band on a snowy mountaintop. It’s done through a filter that makes it look like a silent film, bringing to mind German expressionist films such as Metropolis or Nosferatu. Since it’s like a silent film, they had the lyrics on as titles – that’s inspired! The characters from the strip still shine through and the video lets them be who they are. At the end it devolves into pure cartoonish hijinks. It’s beautiful, awesome, and funny.
I have to give this one to Rammstein. I don’t even care if they can be considered metal, or if the song is even half good. We’re nominating music videos here. “Deutschland” has an epic intro, a story, and humongous production values. What else do I even have to say? Even I have to admit it’s the most impressive music video I’ve seen this year.
So, I’m pretty sure we’re all in agreement that “Genesis” by Devin Townsend is a brilliant video? It’s incredibly silly, chaotic, and crazy. It fits the song perfectly – and therefore it’s a great video. Done.
1. Soen – “Lotus”
2. Opeth – “Svekets prins”
3. Alcest – “Protection”
Just like Bear, I have to praise Costin Chioreanu‘s work and nominate not one, but two videos from him. Soen has truly nailed the visual side of things during the Lotus album cycle, as both “Martyrs” (I regret not having this video among my last-minute nominations last year!) and “Covenant” had thought-provoking videos, but the animated clip for the title-track is my favorite, as it adds another dimension to the lyrics, and its representations of modern life really speak to me.
My other Chiorenau clip of choice is “Svekets prins” by Opeth, which is a more literal take on the theme of the lyrics – forced marriage – but again his visuals add to the song, and the part where a creepy smiley mask is put on the unwilling bride’s face (“shut up and be happy!”) right before the heaviest riff of the song is particularly chilling.
My third choice is “Protection” by Alcest. Dancing is not something you see in metal videos too often, but this dancer’s performance is quite impressive and beautiful in all its intensity and complements the dynamics of the song to a tee.
1. Belzebubs – “Cathedrals of Mourning”
2. Insomnium – “Valediction”
3. Blind Channel ft. GG6 – “Snake”
Honestly, whenever Belzebubs releases a new video, I’m excited already for the opportunity to see these comic book characters come to life, but also for the fact that there’s so much of the visual metal culture and meta captured in them, and obviously the fun cartoon times. “Cathedrals of Mourning” doesn’t include as much “small band making a music video with shoelace budget” hilarity as “Blackened Call,” as the start gives you the exact look and feel of a music video from a signed band in Belzebubs’ genre should – until the inevitable hilarity ensues. There’s so much good stuff going on that I could easily watch it few times in a row and be just as amused each time, and it’s well on its way to being one of my favorite music videos ever.
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Kaira Films’ music video productions, and this year my very favorite from them is, also unsurprisingly, Insomnium‘s “Valediction.” It perfectly illustrates the certain Finnish type of melancholy that’s clearly audible in the whole album – it’s hard to think of a more quintessentially Finnish music video from recent years, and only one from the top of my head that would surpass it at that would be Sentenced’s “No One There.” The combination of stunning views and the storyline (that continues in another video, to the titular track of the album) make a combination that’s at the same time both beautiful and recognizable in many layers of Finnish cultural canon.
Blind Channel has had great videos throughout their relatively short career, and the one for “Snake” is no exception. Fairly minimalistic and clean-cut visually, the execution is stylish and gives proper platform for the expressive power the young musicians – especially the singer duo – hold, along with guest vocalist Henrik Englund [Amaranthe].
1. Hevisaurus – “100”
2. Everfrost – “Cold Night Remedy”
3. Sabaton – “Fields of Verdun”
Hevisaurus really kicked ass with their 100th song, “100.” Not only does it feature some of the best musicians in various Finnish bands, Megadeth, and Gamma Ray, but it heartwarmingly brings together a young generation and a music style that many fear is dying.
A band who plays cold music needs a cold music video, and what’s colder than dumping the band on ice to play in the frozen dead of winter? It’s a good thing Everfrost got to have that sauna afterwards! This music video for “Cold Night Remedy” is both fun and has some Finnish cultural nods that are fun for locals.
Last, the depiction of trench life in Sabaton‘s “Fields of Verdun” may seem to some a bit “Hollywoodized,” but the depiction of trench life remains harsh despite the upbeat music and at least for me, it left an impression.
Honorary mention(s): Devin Townsend – “Genesis”
1. Belzebubs – “Cathedrals of Mourning”
2. Devin Townsend – “Genesis
3. Children of Bodom – “Hexed”
… [the videos appeared in static on a dead screen]
1. Fleshgod Apocalypse – “Sugar”
A video that is an absolute masterpiece of image and sound. The first single and the most visual attractive combination of sound and image of 2019.
2. Belzebus – “Cathedrals of Mourning”
This video is both amazing and hilarious. The creativity of the video and how well it tells the story of the band and their lack of luck is priceless and hilarious. One of the greatest musical moments of 2019.
3. Amon Amarth – Shield Wall
Made you want grab an axe and become part of the shield wall. The video is a mini movie, and one that uses the music as its soundtrack.