The four-year wait is over. With Captain Dog Rides Again, Swedish prog-thrashers Blind Dog improve upon the promise of their debut album, titled, somewhat fatalistically The Last Ride of Captain Dog (the CD was self-released before the band signed to Meteor City, at a point when the Dog didn't know whether it would ever have its day).
Unfairly and inaccurately pegged as a stoner rock band, Blind Dog earned that reputation by their appearance on a 1997 Roadrunner compilation called Burn One Up. Kyuss they're not, nor can listeners expect metal's answer to Cypress Hill. (On the other hand, the Dog does go smoothly with hemp.) Tobias Nillson's whiskey growl and sinuous bass nicely underscores Joakim Thell's guitar punch and Thomas Elenvik's skinwork. The inspirational wellspring for much of this stuff seems to lie somewhere among Cream, Hendrix and Black Sabbath, with a spoonful of soul and downtunings via Soundgarden.
Musical quotations abound, the most obvious being a riff from Hendrix's "Manic Depression" woven into a break on "There Must Be Better Ways of Losing Your Mind"; the Dog even delve into Hunky Dory-era Bowiesque sci-fi electrofolk on the decidedly retro "Be the Same."
The lyrics to such songs as "Back Off" and the aforementioned "...Losing Your Mind" sound to an American ear like a relevant critique of our government's escapades in the Middle East, but according to my recent interview with Nilsson and Thell, this is somewhat coincidental; however, they are fans of Michael Moore and the political invective of Rage Against the Machine, so this read isn't entirely off the beam, either. At any rate, Blind Dog hit the mark with a mellow blend, and ther latest makes a welcome addition to any prog-rock library.