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Blacklisted Double-Shot! Review

by Mark Hensch

Blacklisted Double-Shot!!! (2005's We're Unstoppable and late 2005's ...The
Beat Goes On)

In all my time working for music review websites, I don't think I've had the chance to simultaneously review two CDs from one band back-to-back, one of which is brand new. After all, you'd think that would be kind of risky for the band and its label right? What if the new CD simply can't compare to the older one? Worse perhaps is the possibility of both sucking, and then wouldn't the band have earned itself two verbal beatings for the price of one? Thankfully for all parties involved, I know Deathwish Inc. has yet to turn in something sub-par for me to review, and I also know that Blacklisted is a strong hardcore band, the likes of whom have already outlasted things much beyond any mere writing I could attack them with. Even better, on both the CDs I received from Blacklisted, there is little to attack. And with this, a critical dissection of the two begins.

Figuring that the more recent fare would be the more powerful, I opted to try out the new ....The Beat Goes On first. As much as I don't want to admit this, I'm going to have to say that it isn't as strong or impressive of an album as its predecessor in 2005's We're Unstoppable. The reasons for this are less the faults of the band themselves and more subtle stylistic changes that I don't prefer to the template on the other, earlier disc. Though both albums are dangerous, rabid, and brutally honest slabs of pummeling, short-but-sweaty East Coast hardcore, certain alterations made in between the two for ....The Beat Goes On makes it a little less enjoyable in my humble opinion when compared to We're Unstoppable. If I had to sum up Beat in a gaudy metaphor, it would be that of a bird trapped in a cage, raging and furiously trying to escape in repeated thrashings of its crumpled wings. In many ways, this is exactly the case for the entirety of the album itself.

The band attacks in song after song of straightforward, energetic spasms of jugular, choke-hold hardcore in the vein of Terror, though usually shorter, faster, and meaner. I like my mind-numbing blackouts of brutality as much as the next brawny hoody-cloaked mosher, but I keep hoping the band would move beyond repeated vitriol drenched mantras like "Wolves at My Door" or "Brightest Son" as well as the cliche use of bashing breakdowns and/or gangland choruses, such as on the catchy but formulaic "I Refuse."

The CD is decent and can stand on its own two legs, the conviction, passion, and sincerity almost being enough to replace the variety...almost. The anti-climatic though
welcome instrumental closing that is "Mother Teresa," is a billowing wall of crushing sound, and something I again wish the band had done more of.

We're Unstoppable finds the band being literally just that; the disc sees the Philly outfit launching into such rampant destruction of all conceivable stripes it almost sounds like an entirely different band. There is much more expansion, variety, and experimentation in the riffs, tones, and even breakdowns, and the vocals are not the stubborn barks of the last disc, opting instead to range the full gamut of yowls, howls, barks, and yelps of indignant rage. Lyrically, both discs tread the usual hardcore pathways of independence, conviction, meaning, and comradery.... Unstoppable's better musical template actually adds a lot to the songs on that disc, the lyrical messages of the songs being a lot sharper and more vicious. The opening riff on "That Ain't Real Much" sets you up for a gang-rape of mauling screeches, posse howls, and menacing guitar drones for example. Other songs like "Finding Faith" or "3800 (We're Unstoppable)" have a "rally-round-the-riff" mentality that sees the band adding more structure, purpose, and depth to their songs. In a nutshell, both discs are good but Unstoppable comes off as a bit better due to the fact the majority of Beat's songs tend to be on the shallower end of the musical technicality spectrum.

At the end of the day, both are winners but for different reasons. We're Unstoppable is simply what a good, old-school, desperation-tinged hardcore album should sound like. Though a bit rushed and boasting less staying power, there is simply no denying ...The Beat Goes On has much more fury, catharsis, and havoc in it, and as such would be a better album for periods of anger or rage. Seeing as I am a reviewer, and you are a reader, you may want my advice on which is the best purchase for your hard-earned cash. My reply? Buy both and mix them as your mood sees fit.

The Beat Goes On (2005)
1. Tourist
2. Wolves at my Door
3. Bruising Serenade
4. I Refuse
5. Life Moves On
6. What's Wrong With George?
7. Old Friend
8. Brightest Son
9. How Quickly We Forget (Again)
10. Do You Feel?
11. Coming Clean
12. Good Grief
13. Mother Teresa

Rating: 7.0

Blacklisted's We're Unstoppable (2005)
1. Long Way Home
2. Finding Faith
3. That Ain't Real Much
4. Crossed Fingers
5. 3800 (We're Unstoppable)
6. Transparent/Opaque
7. My Advice
8. Back and Forth
9. Left Alone
10. Who I Am

Rating: 8.0

CD Info and Links

Blacklisted Double-Shot!

Label:Deathwish Records
Rating:see above

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