Hailing from Winona, Minnesota, Blunt Blade is here with his debut album. And it’s a trip, with its ups and downs.
One might find it a little hard to put a definition to the music that’s on this release. With elements that jump from EDM to Thrash to Jazz to Breezy Pop and back again to EDM, it’s safe to say that Blunt Blade has quite a wide palette that he’s not scared to explore and develop. There are also consistencies. The mixes are cohesive and a pervasive sense of unity exists throughout the album, as similar mixing techniques are used all the way through. Blunt Blade’s own deep baritone, his way of coming up with creeping melodies that stick to the harmonic structures beneath, and the harmonic structures beneath themselves, mostly moody, desolate, and dystopian, but when needed, light and dreamy.
The Starter, Tension, is aptly named, with tinny synth leads that spider their way across the song, foreboding bass, and atmosphere enhancing rapidfire drumming that calls to mind certain songs by Shriekback. An adequate starter that sets the mood nicely for what’s to come. The leading synths and atmospheric drumming roles are reversed on the next song. The Build features an immense beat based on the heavy use of toms, again with the foreboding, ultra-low bass. The vocal melodies are also effective and are quite fitting to the valiant sounding progressions and the intensely dynamic beats. Coarse Reaction has very cool drum beats in the intro, and a melodic bass line that fits in harmoniously with the baritone voice. Light Meadows is a low-tempo, chill, arpeggio-led piece that’s soothing and sweet sounding. But it’s also where my first gripe with the album started to take shape. The vocals are generally heavily processed throughout this album, and while the arrangements can be complex and layered, they called for streamlining on a song that’s this light and supposably breezy. Outsider is going to be a divider. Strictly based on an EDM idea that’s intelligent and well produced, in theory, it quickly becomes apparent that the sample is too short, and its incessant repetition quickly starts to detract from its value. The buried vocals throughout the sample that are barely recognizable don’t help, as these sections needed something to perhaps provide a distraction from the repeating sample.
Next up is The Sad Clown. Heavy and rocking with massively distorted guitars and galloping riffs. Blunt Blade is talented when it comes to crafting a complex mood, with songs sounding (to my ears) as valiant, victorious, or contemplative, it is more than songs that make you happy or sad. Trapped has a thrash metal section that went heavily under-utilized with classical composition elements in the sprawling strings and woodwinds section and the diminished chords in the arpeggiated riff. Struggling Skies is a personal highlight. Ambient, fragile, and glassy, it shows Blunt Blade’s compositional talents in their purest and simplest. The tingling synth harmonies can only be described as stunning.
Blunt Blade’s singing style and lyrical rhythms will not appeal to everybody, they are divisive, and you can either love them, or just not. It was a pleasure to me, personally, to get exposed to Blunt Blade’s music. His intense drumming, complex moods, varied styles and influences, and ultimately, his conceptual and coherent production skills, and we’ll be on the lookout for further releases.