'In The Land Of The Blind'
The electro-creeps return with their fourth full-length studio in the form of 'In The Land Of The Blind'. London's AlterRed have been pushing their own brand of dark cabaret infused electro-rock for a few years now with albums such as 'Mind-Forged Manacles', 'Dollstown', and 'The Time It Takes To Smile' earning them critical acclaim while their theatrical live shows have earned them respectable reputation as band that always delivers.
The conceptual story arc of the first three albums may have reached its conclusion on the last album, but them new songs are not short of a sense of narrative in their own right as Mikey's lyrics and compelling vocal performance drive the album. Musically however 'In The Land Of The Blind' feels much harder and darker than anything the band have produced so far. The guitars are turned up, the tempos are faster, and the combination of beats and synths is just a bit more ferocious than usual in a way that almost harks back to Mikey's pre-Alterred project D.U.S.T.
Songs such as 'I Breath You', 'Trepanning', 'Click', 'Love Like Vanity', and 'Unpopulism' give the album a hard rocking backbone that will undoubtedly see plenty of club exposure as well as injecting a different dynamic into their live shows. However, the band can still bring out that deliciously demented avant garde edge that makes them so endearing with tracks like 'Become...', 'The Wraith', 'Run And Hide', and 'Nameless' adding a hint of madness to the proceedings. While the title track, which closes the album, brings both sides of together nicely to round things off.
The album is once again nicely mixed and produced. It has a minimal and modern feel that is heavy on atmosphere, but keeps the bass, guitar and vocals nice and high in the mix to keep that body-grooving element at the fore throughout.
Once again AlterRed show that they are a force to be reckoned with, and any doubts about their direction following the close of their conceptual trilogy has been firmly put to rest with 'In The Land Of The Blind'. The album is dark, powerful, and fresh, but keeps plenty of the quirkiness that has helped define them over their previous outings. It is a strong move forward that sees the band continue to evolve their sound and seem all the stronger for it.