In the vast pool that is the modern hardcore scene, there are only a few bands that really can be considered essential for the genre. Among these acts, you’ll find Blacklisted. Since the release in 2005 of their first full-length The Beat Goes On, the Philadelphia quartet brought some fresh air to the scene, providing both devastating energy and a pretty unique sound. They released several quality outputs but it’s truly with their classic album Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God that Blacklisted has become such a heavyweight.
Apart from an EP in 2013 and a solo raid from the frontman George Hirsh under the HarmWulf moniker, Blacklisted has been rather quiet, especially following its various line-up changes. We must go back to 2009 with No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me to find traces of their last LP. So, with the announcement of their fourth studio album When People Grow, People Go to be released on February 10th by Deathwish Inc., anticipation was high to hear the new musical adventures of a band that never hesitates to stray from the path.
Blacklisted has grown up but still remains an unpredictable band. While incorporating more melodic elements and atmospheres in their recent works, they fortunately never really abandoned their characteristic heavy punk sound. If you delve into the first seconds of ‘Insularized’ and its dark bluesy riff, you’ll easily understand that the band is still as fierce and sounds as sharpened than before. The deafening larsen that introduces ‘Turn In The Pike’ also confirms that Blacklisted decided to return with a very, very aggressive sound, which is obviously not to displease us.
The first part of the album really hits hard with songs like ‘Riptide’ whose vicious riff and roaring bass sound can’t leave the regular hardcore aficionado unresponsive. Bursts of speed keep coming with short and expeditious ‘Deeper Kind’, ‘Calendars’ or ‘Wooder Ice’ while tracks ‘Burnt Palms’ or ‘Foreign Observer’ demonstrates Blacklisted’s ability to carry heavy grooves and frantic beats.
Will Yip’s production emphasizes dissonant guitars but mostly focuses on vocals. George Hirsch, who is clearly the band’s backbone, delivers intense and personal lyrics again with his distinctive and furious voice. At this point, we can only appreciate what Blacklisted took six years to craft. Merging ferocity with an emotional outburst, such as on title track ‘When People Grow, People Go’, is one of the band’s many strengths and when you reach the last seconds of that short record, you’ll just want to play it again.
Blacklisted have already proved in the past that they weren’t afraid to take risks but this record, being less experimental, is just a good memento of their early era works. When People Grow, People Go is a sincere record that enlightens their straightforward approach. It sounds varied and inflexible while reflecting Blacklisted’s unique identity and commitment. It’s a pleasure to hear new powerful compositions that are really worth the wait. So yeah, you can assume Blacklisted is back in the game.
Track list – When People Grow, People Go:
2. Turn In The Pike
4. Deeper Kind
6. Burnt Palms
7. Foreign Observer
9. Wooder Ice
10. Bottle Rockets
11. When People Grow, People Go
Written By Alex Tabankia