- Genre: 'Rock'
- Release Date: '4th December 2020'
Formed in 2010, midlands foursome Nightblade released a brace of albums and a bunch of Eps before taking a break in 2015. Choosing to make their comeback in 2020 may be an odd or a natural choice, depending on circumstance. That energy has to go somewhere…
If the band’s name suggests either goth or metal, the title and artwork very much lean towards, the latter, making the sonic contents of this album somewhat surprising. The title track cuts in with some choppy guitars with a fizzy edge and there’s a post-punk vibe to it, but the last thing I really expected was a collision of The Cult and Spear of Destiny with a dash of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. That’s not a beef, it’s just that… well, I suppose it just goes to show you should never judge an album by its cover, or it’s ultra-cliché title for that matter.
Driven by a dirty guitar and chugging bass, ‘Steering the Wheel’ slips back to 80s rock stylings with some dark / alternative shades and it’s back to 1986/87, when hair rock and alt rock blurred – when The Cult’s ‘Electric’ and ‘Sonic Temple’ still had goth adherents but were, ultimately hard rock albums. The vibe here is more Sabbath through a Melvins filter and one wonders where irony ends and standard rock cheese begins.
‘Only You’ marks the start of a trio of tacks that extend beyond the six-minute mark, and in succession, these epics very much adhere to regular rockist leanings, stacatto guitars and all, and we’re very much at the commercial end of alternative now. While striking for the sprawling exloration after an indulgent intro, the funk-infused ‘What If’ would have done well being trimmed significantly from its seven and a half minute running. Meanwhile, ‘Never Take for Granted’ goes for the anthem, but is overly long. Sometimes less is more: ‘Summer of 69’ was only three and a half minutes, after all.
Nightblade are definitely at their best when they get straight down to it: ‘Take Me As I Am’ is gothy / alternative, and ‘Further from the Truth’ is a quintessential slice of 80s hard / alt rock crossover in the kind of vein of the likes of Balaam and the Angel, and perhaps this is truly the spirit of Nightblade, belonging to that mid/late 80s rock style.
‘Ignorance Is Bliss’ may be well out of step with contemporary trends, even in the domain of alternative rock and goth, but it’s a solid album and quite a welcome reminder of a throwback spell that was really quite alright.