Album Review

Blindfolded and Led To The Woods – Nightmare Withdrawals

Lets get this straight, these guys don’t fuck around. Starting strong with a cacophonic barrage of girthy dissonant riffs and precise drumming, this album lets you know what you are in for right off the bat, the best product that these guys have put out to date. A display of sheer technical ability and creative songwriting, the lead single and opening track The Inevitable Fate of The Universe is the perfect storm. As the album continues to ebb and flow, no track feels out of place or unnecessary, and each riff perfectly compliments the last and next. Even the unexpected changes feel welcome, like a car veering off a road only to find purchase on the gravel track a second later.  Every aspect of the instrumentation has been meticulously crafted to provide an unsettling yet accessible record that will stand the test of time. I’m calling it now. Album Of The Year. Yes I’m aware this album comes out March 26th.

I have once or twice heard these guys compared to Cephalic Carnage which always felt, to me, like it would be referring to the pace of the riffs. 275 KMPH, just like guitarist Stu’s race car. (look it up, the dude is a fucking madman) But upon listening to this album, it was made clear to me what has always been there. The chaotic song structure lifting from grind, the technical proficiency, and the courage to include unconventional sections or chords to get the EXACT feel they want and need to make the song their own. I really can’t think of a more appropriate comparison when it comes to bands that sound the same, now that I think of it. Mainly because Blindfolded And Led To The Woods don’t sound like other bands. Sure, they have the same components, but the end result is unlike anything I can compare it to as a whole. That is what I love about this band. They are unafraid to take risks, and boy howdy does it pay off on this album. This shows most in the track ‘…..And You Will Try To Speak” I feel, with its almost post-rock passage that feels like the calm eye of the storm that surrounds it.

When I say this is the best thing that this band has put together, I do not say that lightly. I was first introduced to this band 9 years ago and have watched them develop from strength to strength, honing their craft and adding new elements creating the unique and formidable leviathan of technical death metal that you either know, or should know. I have seen them open for juggernauts of the metal scene from Revocation to Dillinger Escape Plan, hosting their own headline tours across New Zealand and playing festivals galore. Every challenge that has been presented this band has absolutely crushed, proving themselves worthy of every opportunity that comes from it.

Shannan Jessica Photography with the action shot

Lets talk about the elephant in the room though. Or rather, the elephant’s. Plural. 

The guest features.

Karl Sanders of Nile lending his pipes to “Atop The Wings Of A Magpie” is the perfect accompaniment, rounding out an already stellar song with the cherry on top. Callum Gay, vocalist and guitarist of fellow New Zealand powerhouse band Spook The Horses also chimes in on “Lucid Visitations” adding a solemn tone to the affair, leaving it dripping with feelings of despair and doom.  Both features are a perfect fit for the songs they respectively contribute to, each with their own nuances and approaches that are a welcome addition.

While I have used plenty of fancy (or not so fancy) words to describe how much I love this album, don’t let that detract or distract from what I assure you is a standout record, with the hallmarks of a turning point in their careers. I am not exactly a stranger to the chaotic and brutal style of death metal that Blindfolded and Led To The Woods have to offer, yet they still manage to surprise me. They surprise me with their abrasive yet cathartic approach to music. With their genuine wholesomeness as people, and dedication to the craft of making music. After 10 years of being a band and slugging it out in the trenches, it feels like this band is on the precipice of what the rest of their careers will be. I for one, can’t wait to see where they go.

Don’t be left behind. Go buy the album. You know you want to. If you like chaotic yet groove ridden riffs, filthy bass riffs over some of the most precise and blindingly quick drums, then do yourself a favour and check it out.

The album comes out this Friday 26th of March, go out and pre-order a copy now!


Music Video for The Inevitable Fate Of The Universe:


Standout tracks: ‘The White of The Eyes’, ‘Lucid Visitations’ and ‘……And You Will Try To Speak’. Choosing 3 standouts is hard, as the album as a whole is an experience. Fuck, don’t make me choose again man. That shits hard.

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