Sound — 10
When most bands open and close an album with political songs, you know that the album will suck and the band will turn into another cheap minion of Bob Geldoff. However, with The Blackening, you barely notice that the songs are anti-war, because they're just so damned awesome. The first song [Clenching The Fists Of Dissent] begins with a low swirling intro, which is then joined by Flynn singing in a middle-eastern style. Then you hear a tender melody, played out on accoustic guitar. The sound begins to intensify until it explodes into a relentless thrashfest, which barely lets up until the end of the track, some 10 minutes later. The sound on this album is brutal and very heavy, yet somehow still accessible to fans of lighter music. When I showed this to my ska-punk and Indie loving friends, it wasn't long before they were headbanging and air guitaring along.
Lyrics — 10
In a time where the mainstream's lyrics seem to be going downhill ('I said I'd rather be wiv your friends mate, 'cos their much fi'er') the lyrics in metal seem to be on the up. It is quite clear that Flynn has been writing like a bitch since Throught the Ashes, and he has come up with some gems. The post solo in Aesthetics of Hate ('Long live memories, live his freedom vicariously') sounds like it could have been written by a poet or bard. Also the manner in which he delivers the words is amazing. I find it quite hard to understand how he can switch from soaring melodies to the ferocious growling as quickly and effectively. Over the course of the album, his lyrics seem to summarise the feelings of extreme loathing to fevered moaning and everything in between. If I arrive home extremely angry, all I have to do is stick this album on and the agression and power of the vocals help release me emotion.
Overall Impression — 10
This album doesn't really seem to fit in with the times. It isn't drowning in sea of all the pathetic metalcore pretenders, and they've not gone for the let's get listeners by being uber-contravertial. As with Lamb Of God, there is no real movement for them to ride the back of, and yet this album is something special. I can't choose any standout tracks, but my favourite bit at the moment is in Halo, when everything has dropped to a whisper and suddenly, there's a massive and moving vocal harmony between Flynn and Duce. If this album was stolen, I would search for the thief, bludgeon them to a pulp, and then act out the lyrics to Slayer's Angel of Death on them. Or just buy another.