What better way to start off the year with a strong dose of strong raw hardcore. Philly based Blacklisted have crafted another dose of feedback driven, groove based, punk infused hardcore with their fourth record When People Grow, People Go. Clocking in at just over 20 minutes, the album wastes no time getting its point across. The record is almost trapped in time with a sound that sounds straight out of the late ’90s early 2000’s era hardcore that got me into the scene. This is stuff you would have heard any given Saturday night at a VFW or community rec center. Songs that force you to bob your head along and say to yourself “man, this is good stuff”. The riffs are strong, the drums push the beat forward, and the whole thing is begging for a pit to open up.
The song “Riptide” in particular sounds exactly like the Syracuse hardcore scene I loved so much through my teenager years and every song on the record has a really stripped down approach that doesn’t rely on production gimmicks. It’s really refreshing in 2015 to hear a record that hasn’t been overproduced to the point of sounding like a robot recorded it. While I do wish there was a little more punch with the drums it feels authentic. This sounds like they just went into a room, banged out some songs, and recorded them. Nothing fancy about it. Just pure energy.
The signature sound on the record has to be the guitar layering. Traditional hardcore punk riffs with a nice mixture of chaotic feedback that blends to radical harmony. They also know how to speed things up when needed and add a little edge of aggression but at the same time when they slow it down a little and lock into a groove it’s beyond good. Opening track “Insularized” is a great example of them being able to shift gears from fast to slow and back again. Sometimes this causes a song to come off disjointed but they were able to keep it together without sounding like they cut and pasted two different songs together.
Blacklisted has become one of those bands that has started to really cultivate a strong catalog of releases. Some bands start their career off with a bang and slowly go downhill from there trying to chase after what they once had. And some bands just never get that light bulb moment where everything clicks together and they put out something really special. But Blacklisted have been able to be consistently good. Few bands can lay claim to being able to say that they haven’t put out a bad or disappointing record. While When People Grow, People Go doesn’t go outside of the box, it also doesn’t feel like they’re playing it safe. They made a record that has a very distinct sound that doesn’t bend to any trends. That should be applauded when more and more bands are slowly getting away from the things that made people fall in love with them in the first place.
Blacklisted have long been viewed as one of the best in their genre. They put on a live show full of energy with crowds that get whipped into a fury and now they’ve added to their legacy with a great all around record. While it doesn’t pack the punch of their previous releases it’ll please their fans for sure and they remain at the top of their class.
Key Tracks – Insularized, Deeper King, Riptide