It is widely thought in the hardcore world, that looking back on Blindside's career, one could point to A Thought Crushed My Mind as the band's defining moment. While the band would go on to record 2 solid releases with Silence and About a Burning Fire, it can be easily said that Thought has been their strongest release to date, showing the transformation of the band from the hardcore/rapcore roots of their self titled release, to their more mature post-hardcore stylings on Silence and About a Burning Fire. Don't mistake that sediment for weakness on the band's part, however, as they have continued to move in a direction that is new and different from every previous outing. This is definitely a band that has continued to grow, both musically, lyrically, and personally, into a strong group of 4 guys passionate about what they do.
Enter the re-release of the aforementioned A Thought Crushed My Mind. From the first crash of the cymbals and driving guitar tones on "Vow of Silence", one can hear the definite difference in the clarity of the recording and level of production that the band probably had wished to attain with the album's first release back in 2000. What you get with the re-release is crisp guitar tones, a more clear driving bass line throughout each song, and tighter sounding drums, all contributing to the songs in a way that shows the listener what the band really was trying to attain with the original release.
Musically, this outing is as strong as any release Blindside has had, with great breakdowns, timing/tempo changes that keep the listener guessing at every turn, and enough of a fresh approach that one could consider this album anything but a 'typical' hardcore release. One track that definitely stands out as a great example of the transformation between the band's early material and what would come with the Elektra releases, is on "Silverspeak". Christian shows off an excellent singing voice on this track, while still incorporating some good screams as well. What has been noticed by many on this release is Christian's ability to go so much more easily from a sing to a scream within seconds. While he might not do it on a scale of Embrace-era Ian MacKaye, he does pull it off with seemingly no problems, and it can and has been pulled off very well live as well, as this reviewer has witnessed personally.
Lyrically, Christian is on point, as he has been with every album Blindside has released. Songs of temptation, struggle, despair, all lead way to a hope that lies within each one of the members of this band. While they are not 'in-your-face' about their Christianity, they do convey a very positive message in their lyrics that points to redemption, while still showing that we all have struggles and trials.
As for the 7" material previously only available overseas, the band shines on all 4 new tracks. The standout of the newer tracks is "Sunrise", which could have easily fit on the original release of Thought. The song leans much more towards the band's post-hardcore sensibilities, but retains enough 'underground' feel to sound fresh.
"Knocking on Another Door", "From Stone to Backbond", and "All You Need Is" have a much more simple straight-forward hardcore feel to them, complete with hardcore singalongs and breakdowns. For the Blindside fan, though, they are all excellent tracks in their own right, even though they don't fit as well with the material that most people know Blindside for.
Just as in the original release, the album finishes up with the dance/techno track "Phatback 1303". Great track if it's your thing, and definitely something to throw a wrench into what people would expect to hear from a Blindside record.
All in all, this is the best thing Blindside could do to satisfy their fans until their new release comes out later this year. Definitely recommended.