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Stareblind - "Something Left Unexplained" (CD)

Stareblind - "Something Left Unexplained" CD cover image

"Something Left Unexplained" track listing:

1. Shelter
2. Shapes
3. Something Left Unexplained
4. Fetters
5. Embrace
6. The Guilt
7. On with the cowards
8. Hollow
9. The Way You Want Me
10. Souls in the Sandbox
11. Outro

Reviewed by on May 22, 2010

"Stareblind's 'Something Left Unexplained' is a great-sounding album, but one that has too many sound-alike songs."

With "Something Left Unexplained," Stareblind serves up 11 cuts of grinding post-grunge alt-metal that, frankly, would be right at home on modern hard rock radio. I mean it as no offense to the band when I say that radio — and not a whole album — is probably the best showcase for these songs.

On the positive side, this band is capable of some bone-crushing heaviness. Guitarist Jake Bergeron and bassist Dan Coole serve up some exceedingly heavy riffs on songs like "Shelter" and "Shapes," and are able to transition into more melodic parts well, as heard at the end of "Shapes." Singer Manu Guilbault is a great vocalist, offering up a blend of melodic and gritty, shouted vocals that often serve the material well.

The problem, quite honestly, is that the songs pretty much sound the same. That's not a problem if you just hear one or two in a row, but it gets to be an issue on a 45-minute album.

Remember that bone-crushing heaviness I was talking about earlier? Part of the problem with it is that it relies on near-monotone riffing by Bergeron and Coole, and the band takes that approach pretty much throughout the album, with the speed set to a mid-tempo grind.

There are some good exceptions that stand out, like the bass-driven opening and verses of "Fetters." The initially quieter "Embrace" has some good soft electric guitar that helps it stand out, and the later heavy part works well. I also liked the faster tempo of "The Guilt" and "The Way You Want Me," though both tunes unfortunately slow down to some degree.

The production on the disc is great, with Coole's bass and Oli Beaudoin's drums having a great presence, but never overpowering the guitars and vocals. This is definitely one that will please audiophile metalheads looking for something that will test all aspects of their stereo system.

Stareblind's "Something Left Unexplained" is a great-sounding album, but one that has too many sound-alike songs. Enjoyed a track or two at a time, it works well, but as an album, it can grow a little monotonous.

Highs: "The Way You Want Me" and "Fetters."

Lows: Monotone riffing makes the songs tend to blend together.

Bottom line: A good-sounding album, but that relies too much on grinding, mid-tempo riffs.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)