Blacklisted - Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God
Record Label: Deathwish, Inc.
Release Date: April 1, 2008
The most common complaint I hear about hardcore is it is far too confining of a genre. As a result, most bands end up sounding way too similar to be of much interest. But this is an unfair assessment. Sure, if a group of hardcore bands were selected at random they would most likely sound similar. However, I think this is more of an appraisement of the people who are inclined to form a hardcore band rather than a statement of the genre itself.
This opinion seems only to be reinforced with the recent releases of albums that push the boundaries of hardcore music, such as Paint It Black’s New Lexicon and Have Heart’s Songs to Scream at the Sun. Whether or not they are any good is the subject of another review, but they undoubtedly have made a sound of their own within the hardcore genre. With the release of Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God after just recently getting back together, Blacklisted prove they are more than the average hardcore band.
Vocalist George Hirsch has the angry snarl with a melodic undertone found in most current hardcore bands. However, the amount of emotion and character he puts in every word easily puts him at the forefront of his peers. This is only helped by the top-notch deeply introspective lyrics not generally found in a hardcore album. Instead of preaching to his listeners, Hirsch is more concerned with looking inward in such a way most people can relate to.
The album starts with an extended intro, which is an immediate red flag for me. While it may sound good on first listen, long intro or outro’s never seem to hold up on repeated listens. This is especially true when the average length of the songs on an album average less than two minutes, as it does on Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God. Fortunately, Blacklisted appear to be one of the rare bands that can actually pull it off. Never once do I find myself impatiently waiting for them to actually get to the real song. It would have been disastrous otherwise, as more than a few songs feature either a long intro or outro. As it stands, they definitely add to the album in that the moments of quiet make the outbursts of frantic violence hit just that much harder.
Musically is where the band really starts to push their boundaries. Its schizophrenic nature is somewhat reminiscent of the recent release from Ruiner in that it is constantly speeding up and slowing down with little to no warning. It is important to note that they are somehow able to pull this off without interrupting the flow of the album. Never once did I find myself confused and disoriented with an abrupt change in tempo. This is quite an accomplishment is such a short album, as it would be all too easy for them to keep things simple without the album becoming stale. But there are plenty of bands out there who do that; this is Blacklisted.
Though they’re not exactly the most original band out there, with Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God Blacklisted show they are more than willing to make strides to better their sound. The end result is an album that is a huge step in the right direction. It does just about everything right as well as stretch their sound at the same time. It will be interesting to see whether or not they will be able to continue to release such solid albums while expanding their sound further.
I think this is their best effort.
The lyrics and vocals are especially arresting, with raw emotion pouring out all over the place
Hardcore at it's best=primal emotion and I think they got it on this one
Every genre has it's clones.
When a band stands out and really makes their own statement is where the artistry comes in
Compared to their last work, this shows some real evolution, and as the reviewer says "pushing the boundaries"
Keep it up on the next one boys...