Blind Until We Burn
On paper, it makes sense: Joey Simpson, the best thing about deathcore troupe Dr. Acula, starts up a new band based on his love of gory horror movies, with members equipped with scary masks to boot. The band’s sound is a mix of 00s industrial-tinged nu-metal and new-school metalcore, which is to say it’s both trendy and somewhat dated at the same time. The guitar-work is an odd mix of genuinely interesting and stock modern metal, with some really good solos mixed in for good measure. The lyrics are an odd mash-up of gore-infested shock rock and teenager-aimed anthems. Joey’s harsh vocals are fine enough, although the clean choruses are, at times, cheesier than the state of Wisconsin and Vermont combined. That doesn’t mean they are all poorly executed or awful, but they offer a shocking juxtaposition compared to the electro-tinged shock hard rock in the verses. All of this makes a first half that misses the mark.
What’s problematic is Kissing Candice can do better than this Mushroomhead-meets-We Came As Romans style that presents itself early on in the album. “Misdirection” is wonderfully creepy, maintaining an eerie vibe throughout; even the chorus nails the tone perfectly. Hell, even the breakdown is largely effective and bound to incite a riot in the pit. “Recycled LIE” and “Put Em Up” are also winners, the latter recalling an alternate universe where Hollywood Undead went full-on into anthem mode and, you know, actually knew how to play their instruments. As the record goes on, it seems like the band finally figured things out. It’s not perfect, as some songs really miss the mark (“Shop Smart”), but then “Decomposer” somewhat saves face and contains the best riff of the album.
Overall, Blind Until We Burn is one part successful debut and one part uneven mess. The cheesy choruses and mediocre lyrics are a definite turn-off, but for those looking for a fun, nuanced listen that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Kissing Candice certainly deliver. It’s catchy and full of neat horror imagery, but it’s clear the band can do better. (Nicholas Senior)
Purchase Blind Until We Burn here.