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Blacklisted really is one of those bands that has never had a problem forging their own path in hardcore. Starting off as a no-frills, heavy hardcore band, they have evolved in new and unpredictable ways, highlighted in releases like Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God and No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me. The former retained a distinctly hardcore flavour, but managed to give the band its own distinct sound, while the latter showed a more experimental side that included certain melodic and post-hardcore elements that hadn’t really been present in their earlier works. This new direction seemed to be further explored on recent 7”’s, including 2010’s Eccentrichine and 2012’s So, You Are a Magician?.
Why is all this background necessary you may ask? Well simply put, I thought that their latest LP, When People Grow, People Go, would be largely filled with the group’s more stripped down, obtuse approach that they’ve been favouring in recent years. Don’t get me wrong, No One Deserves… is an incredible record, but the Blacklisted that I first fell in love with on …The Beat Goes On, and that grew to become one of the most important bands for me with Heavier Than Heaven… will always be the version of the band that I most want to hear. Luckily, it seems like the band was able to pull of the impossible: They created a record that is unabashedly aggressive and reminiscent of their older work, but that still seems like a logical continuation of their newer material…all without becoming confused, muddled, or in any way bad.
From the first notes of “Insularized” to the last notes of the title track there isn’t a wrong turn on this entire record. Musically, it’s aggressive, confrontational, and much deeper and complex than it first presents itself to be. Lyrically, George Hirsch retains his ability to be the most stark, bleak, and honest vocalist that still somehow doesn’t come off as whiny or cliché in any way.
With each listen this record just gets better and better. It’s a juggernaut, start to finish. Blacklisted is at the top of their game in every way possible. The punk riffs of “Turn In The Pike”, the dissonant tones of “Foreign Observer”, and the soul-laid-bare lyrics of “When People Grow, People Go” are just a few examples of this album’s highlights. I know that Lost Tribe only reviews music they like, so it’s never surprising to see a glowing review, but this album will easily be on my list of top albums of 2015, and that’s saying something considering it’s barely February.
Buy it here or continue depriving yourself of the best that hardcore has to offer.