idle threat – blurred visions

I almost passed over this album, and that would have been a huge mistake. I’ve listened to idle threat’s EP in passing. I’ve seen press on it. I guess I was half asleep because I mistook them for some sort of pop punk type band that’s a dime a dozen. I didn’t know an album was on the way – and even if I did, I don’t think I would have planned on listening to it.

Then, release day hit and blurred visions started getting praise from my friends, some which are musicians themselves – high praise, to be exact. I was a skeptic turned fan upon one listen. This is an album that earns its praise. This seems needlessly-flowery, but it’s worth stating in the event that you might also pass up this record.

So, what is blurred visions about and what makes it work? Well, their work sits at the crossroads of several other faith-based artists new and old. You have the gnashing atmosphere of Hands, the post-hardcore technicality of Wolves at the Gate, the punk fury of classic Thrice, and some of the indie leanings of My Epic. Maybe that’s a cop out description, but maybe putting the FFO list upfront will garner more interest here. It’s also true that idle threat doesn’t fit nicely into a genre box. Post-hardcore seems apt, with pseudo-breakdowns and screaming aplenty. But ballads like “simon” shatter the expectations set from the first moments of “driftwood”. This is a dynamic and diverse album, but most of it works.

Personally, I enjoy the “softer” or “mixed” tracks the most. These include “arrogant love”, “simon”, “the gold grows dim”, “damage control”, and “beige”. Out of these, “damage control” is one of the nicest surprises and reminds me of Crime in Stereo quite a bit – sadly it’s only about two minutes long and burns through quickly. Lyrically, “simon” is a standout and follows a similar theme to Wolves’ own “Hindsight”. Even if it’s a perspective we’ve seen before, it’s one that’s consistently sobering and something worth meditating on.

On that note, it’s worth pointing out the overt faith displayed on blurred visions. Granted, it’s done poetically like Cool Hand Luke or Attalus, but even so, when many bands shirk labels or ride the fence, idle threat don’t hide their convictions.

Not every single moment is a win – some of the heavier tracks lack a proper focal point and the screamed lyrics are hard to distinguish at times. But these moments are certainly the exception, not the rule, and ultimately the instrumentation is solid throughout in loud and tender moments alike. The band borrow liberally from punk subgenres with ease.

On blurred visions, idle threat fill a void long occupied by bands from ten years ago that are deconstructing; they manage to revitalize not only the sound but the spirit of the “golden age” of Christian punk bands, and they sound familiar enough to plenty of classic groups that you’ll find yourself instantly enjoying SOMETHING on this record – but maybe more likely, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself loving the totality of it.

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