Friday, March 5, 2010

Rise Unto Martin

BLINDSTONE – “Rise Above” CD ’10 (Grooveyard, Den) – I think I alluded to it before, but it bears repeating: there’s a helluva lot of “blindness” going on around The Realm these days. From the Blindside Blues Band to me being blindsided by the Gallows Pole LP to now, this newest release from Denmark’s BLINDSTONE, I’m starting to think about Laskik Surgery. Well, the fact of the matter is, it’s pretty clear that we’ve had some real visionaries lately and Martin J. Andersen (guitar, vocals) is no exception. (BLINDSTONE is completed by Jesper Bunk – bass & Anders Hvidtfeldt – drums).

See, (oh come on!) I’d love to say that the 3rd time’s the charm for BLINDSTONE but if you’ve read the reviews of their previous 2 records on this site (see November ’08 blog), you’ll know they hit the ground motoring. That’s not to say that “Rise Above” doesn’t see this trio continue to stoke the fires even higher, however. Put an ear to the title cut and see what I mean. It’s a smokin’ cross between classic Mountain and something a lot more current-day, and the meeting of the ages works wonders in it’s 10-ton riff. Plus, right off the bat, I love the fact that axeman Andersen is cool enough to let King’s X man Ty Tabor (who also mastered the disc) take the solo in the very first song. Ty’s laid-back lead action here smolders like a campfire at an Eagle Scout convention & opens the door for Martin, who let’s loose like mad on the rest of the disc.

“New Direction,” for instance, brings a stop-start Zep “Presence” groove to the table. And, like that one, “Sonic Motor King” fuses the styles of ‘70’s git-down blues-rock with a modern edge that speaks of melodic thumpers like King’s X and Galactic Cowboys. Even a song like “Horizontal Activity,” with it’s kinda sophomoric lyrics is rendered fresh and vital by the funked-up riffing and Strat-wah lead beating administered by Martin Andersen. And while some might criticize the inclusion of 3 covers on an 11-track album, I’ve got nothing but green lights for these. First off, The Isley’s “Climbing Up The Ladder” sees Martin just set his fretboard on fire…3 different times! Man, this cat can blow! Hendrix’s “House Burning Down” (a real bitch of a number to tackle, as any player will tell you!) sees M.A. teaming up with Paul Halberg to hand down the solo business and “He’s Calling” (Frank Marino) is a surprising AND wicked entry.

Tying the whole thing together are Andersen’s vocals which, while maybe not as devastating as his Strat destruction, are steeped in a rich, bluesy vibe. In conclusion, I can say that BLINDSTONE’s “Rise Above” is not only another 6-string salvo from the guns of Grooveyard but is also the brightest star so far in Martin Andersen’s rising universe. Buy it and “see” what I mean. Third Sight

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