About a Burning Fire (Elektra/3 Points Records)

"I wash my walls with tears of hope," singer Christian intimates on Blindside's second album. He really doesn't cry that much, even if album-opener "Eye of the Storm" does suggest that About a Burning Fire has 12 courses of screamo in store. Like the band's background -- Swedish Christians signed to 3 Points Records, P.O.D.'s Elektra imprint, for an album that features a guest appearance by Great Pumpkin Billy Corgan -- it obscures the surprisingly nuanced moments that follow.

The jazzy "Roads" turns an angry mood somber with a creeping acoustic guitar hook and downbeat trumpet solo, as muted cello and violin contours intertwine. A melodic world-music wail winds through "Shekina," while "Where the Sun Never Dies" collapses abruptly, exposing a fading dance beat. Even the most overt testimonials are buried in nondenominational Oprah-isms -- "We've been trying too long/To cover up His fingerprints/From a distant past . . . My spirit is freezing like ice in this heat." Forget their benefactors from Southtown; when Blindside gives pause to its wall o' guitar, the Swedes sound more like mercurial Twilight Singers.

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