Blind Tiger

Blind Tiger

What do you get when you combine DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, and CHICAGO? […]
By Frank Dashwood
October 26, 2021
Blind Tiger - Blind Tiger album cover

What do you get when you combine DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, and CHICAGO? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it would sound a lot like BLIND TIGER Originating in, and operating out of Panama City, Florida, this 5 piece genre-collider graces us with a new EP! I'll admit to having frowned slightly when I saw that they had a Trumpet player in their line-up, but I'll also admit to having dined on humble pie the entire time I listened to this EP because of it! In my experience horns in metal tend to be kind of gimmicky, and/or typically means that the band verges on being ska, and might as well be ska. BLIND TIGER somehow managed to find a perfect balance, and real utility for a trumpet player in this release.  The trumpet is there, but it's at a level that doesn't take all the credit for the tone being set.

About halfway through the song "Jacksonville", it became clear that I was listening to something I could be adding to my collection. "Atlanta" drops on your head full force, with zero intro. The first 30 seconds reminds me a lot of DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. No intro, just a head-first dive into a medley of screaming vocals, over screeching guitars. "Blountstown" was a reminder of why horns are so rare in metal. There is a spot starting at about 1:30, where I felt Coco should have gotten another notch or two of volume during a pair of meandering lounge-jazz parts. You have to commit to having horns competing with guitars for your ear space. It can't just "be there" for flavor, or ambiance. A good example of such commitment to the instrument would be from 2:50 to the end on "Abbevillle".

Is "Abbeville" anything like Chicago? Busy, to the point of manic despondence at some points, and grinding into knuckle-dragging drudgery of standing in que during others, this song simply neglects the existence of genres, and holds in contempt any sense of stylistic propriety/consistency. It jumps from some form of dark-progressive, to thrash, to grunge, back to thrash, some kind of night club jabberwocky, to CHICAGO, and back again. One of the things that stuck out on this song was a spot of some delicious harmonizing going on  at 2:56. The only other place I recall hearing that kind of  harmonizing was in Chicago songs. The horns on "Denton" had a little bit of that CHICAGO flavor too.

"Panama City" is a somber departure from the rest of the album. Coco's trumpet is a much more prominent voice, with Step, Hunt, and Mike serving as a firm, but eclectic skeletal structure, for both Coco's trumpet, and synthesizer parts. Around 3 minutes it really starts to become cohesive. The progression of complexity, and refinement of direction started giving me a sense of a maturing process. The swelling crescendo at the end, felt like watching a small town becoming metropolitan, and seeing your own potential for growth, and prosperity expanding before you with it.

This whole EP was a fresh perspective to me. It makes me wish I had an even stronger music background, as there was so much going on that I just didn't know how to properly encapsulate, and describe in text form. The rhythm/style/genre/tone shifts are completely natural, and seamless. Even at their most chaotic, or moody, I have trouble believing any of it could have been composed differently, and come out as well. The depth of dimension reminds me a bit of SIKTH. Every phrase feels unique, yet familiar, and essential in the construction of the whole.

8 / 10









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"Blind Tiger" Track-listing:

1. Jacksonville
2. Atlanta
3. Vero Beach
4. Blountstown
5. Denton
6. Abbeville
7. Panama City

Blind Tiger Lineup:

Nick - Vocals
Mike - Drums
Hunt - Bass
Step - Guitar
Coke - Trumpet/Synth

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