No Blindfold 

"In the Back of Your Mind Part 1"
"In the Back of Your Mind Part 2"

Given Cleveland's affinity for heavy-handed metal and electronic acts, it's a wonder why more bands who fuse grinding guitar and techno haven't surfaced in the city's musical morass. Leave it to No Blindfold, then, to take advantage of the situation by spiking undulating electronic atmospherics with globs of emotional excess -- paranoia, emptiness, anger, oh my. To peddle its art, No Blindfold has just released its first two EPs: seven-song discs that kick, scream, and occasionally fall on their asses in a blend of energy and grit.

"In the Back of Your Mind Part 1" and "Part 2" are heaped with jarring metal guitar work from Randy Wolan, hard knocks from drummer Nate Lester, and pulsating techno beats courtesy of James Ballachino. The frontman sports a curious vocal talent, which ranges from a devilish growl to a caustic roar. The band's mix of energy, rock, and electro can lead to potent, muscular tracks that balance mood and melody well, as in "Moment of Sanity" and "Illumination." Other tunes, such as "Splendid," just feel a little too jumbled, out of step, and campy for repeated listening. The band's cover of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" is its most awkward moment, poorly re-created with heavy guitars and Ballachino's screams. But throughout the bungling, No Blindfold exhibits an unbounded passion that, at the very least, pleases in its absolute disregard for all things sweet and pandering. Time to open your eyes to this bunch.

Speaking of Regional Beat

More by Keith Gribbins


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