Allister - Before the Blackout (Cover Artwork)


Allister: Before the BlackoutBefore the Blackout (2005)
Drive-Thru Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: William_DavidWilliam_David
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Allister's third release with Drive-Thru Records, Before the Blackout, is just as different as Last Stop Suburbia was from Dead Ends and Girlfriends. As vocalist Tim Rogner points out, "Our first record was really fast punk rock, and then the next record, we, like, tuned it down a little bit and mad.
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Allister's third release with Drive-Thru Records, Before the Blackout, is just as different as Last Stop Suburbia was from Dead Ends and Girlfriends. As vocalist Tim Rogner points out, "Our first record was really fast punk rock, and then the next record, we, like, tuned it down a little bit and made it straight up catchy pop-punk, and this one we tried to go a little bit further and incorporate some more things we don't normally do as far as writing, and I think it's just a natural progression."

The sound isn't perfect, but it seems like a step in the right direction. It's still the catchy kind of punk you'd come to expect from Allister, but with a new level of maturity. As a result, it starts to sound more like a rock album than just a punk album. They aren't simply going through a fast set of energetic chord progressions, but instead create entire songs, full of rock riffs and lyrics that are bound to stick in your head. I'll admit, there is a part of me that misses the energy of Dead Ends, and part of me that won't forget the all-too-catchy pop-punk sound of Last Stop, but there is another part of me that enjoys seeing the evolution of a band.

Their new sound is reminiscent of Lit's catchy rock style. There are also traces of Bowling for Soup, so it's obviously still laden with pop hooks, but it's definitely a new Allister.

One thing that bothers me a bit (and I'm not sure if this is more the label than the band) but they seem intent on pushing a "darker" image of Allister as part of their maturing process. The cover art and exploding light bulb on the back of the album look nice, but the shadowed portraits of the band inside the liner notes is a bit much. The themes aren't all happy-go-lucky, but they also won't give you any nightmares. They just seem to have an older perspective, and deal with some of the troubles one could come to expect throughout life.

The opening track, "Waiting," is a solid start for the album. Other key tracks include "Blackout" and "A Study in Economics." They also make sure no one forgets they are Chicago punks, with a song outlining "The Legend of Pegleg Sullivan," a man who was a possible suspect for starting the Chicago Fire.

Another positive here is that the album progresses well. It seems like a complete album, where one song flows into the other, creating a complete work, instead of a numbered set of disjointed singles.

The album is not groundbreaking. The first time I listened to it, I honestly thought it might turn into background music, but the more you listen, the more the album grows on you. It's something the band should feel good about, returning from a three-year release gap. With nothing left to say about Blackout, it really is an achievement for the band. It's a fresh new Allister for new and old fans alike.


People who liked this also liked:
Allister - Last Stop SuburbiaRise Against - The Sufferer & the WitnessTeenage Bottlerocket - They Came from the ShadowsVarious - Up End Atom: A Tribute to Atom and His PackageJG Thirlwell - The Venture Brothers: The Music of JG ThirlwellMC Lars - This Gigantic Robot KillsHellogoodbye - Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!Socratic - Just TurnRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteI Am the Avalanche - I Am the Avalanche

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (May 3, 2006)

I hope this message finds you well,
Allister Rox!
I can listen to them for days no years.
Love you guys.
10 for all Allister stuff.
____Dead Arrival.

Anonymous (March 28, 2006)

The song Scratch rules, I do have respect for Allister

Matt-A-Tat-Tat (February 23, 2006)

It all sweet smells and puppy dog tails as we track through the latest effort from Chicago-based Allister. I was only semi-impressed with their last album, LAST STOP SUBURBIA, and was hoping for something a bit less poppy, but it seems things are destined to stay the same. BEFORE THE BLACKOUT offers a mix of very catchy songs laced a bubblegum pop-punk feel. Fans of the pop-punk genre will be quite happy with this album, but I suggest staying away if you are looking for something with balls and grit. This is just a little bit too sweet for my liking

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

excellent album

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

I Can listen to tHiS FoR HouRs!

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

i love it

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

sweet ass pop punk!!!

Anonymous (October 24, 2005)

Dude Great album. Last Stop to Suberbia was a kick ass album to. I love them both. Thank you for staying together cause I love you. I am proud of you guys. Thanx.
____Dead Arrival

Anonymous (October 24, 2005)

Personally, I still think Last Stop Suburbia is a better album straight through. However, this album is pretty solid and is still a step in right direction for Allister, especially after a couple years break since the last album and a few lineup changes. Thanks for not breaking up.

Anonymous (October 18, 2005)

since Green Day has released about 20 albums now, "Dookie" is easily considered "early Green Day".


Anonymous (October 18, 2005)

allister haha...music for pricks

Anonymous (October 18, 2005)

The people who make fun of Allister are usually more mature than your average Drive Thru kid. They too fell into the the "pop punk" trap and listened to shit like Fenix TX and Midtown. Now it's time to warn others. You will mature and will only like bands like The Bouncing Souls. You will laugh one day, when you realized you spent an hour of your life reviewing Allister.

William_David (October 17, 2005)

Response #2

-rest_easy I think you said a lot of it well. If you aren't into a certain kind of music, why are you getting into this. If you've heard the album and like or don't like it, agree or disagree with me, then go ahead and post what you feel. If you just don't like the band, or just don't like the genre, as in the person who just spoke out against pop-punk, then you shouldn't be posting stupid responses here. Just because you don't like a genre, whether it be pop-punk, rap, or country, that doesn't mean the review is stupid, or that the band is stupid. When you review something, you review it for the content of the album, possibly in comparison to previous albums or other albums in the genre, but it is pointless to denounce something simply because of the genre.

-Just wondering, because I'm not familiar, what was the midtown stuff that went down?

-Yeah, early Green Day was make-up free. Plus, I don't think the analogy really applies.

-As far as the name comment, this is not my real name. I am wary of people with the name jockmcbored. It's part of my name, but I'm not just posting on here under my full name.

jockmcbored (October 17, 2005)

William David - sorry but i'm always wary of people who's surnames could be their 1st.

I have to say tho that this is an excellent review. Told us what it sounded like and the good/bad bits.

liked their 1st album, not the 2nd but now defo won't buy this.

as for the numpty who thinks "early green day" = dookie...... try the 2 albums before that

Anonymous (October 17, 2005)

what exactly is "early green day" anyway? dookie?
so allister is as good as dookie? i don't think so!

(by the way, this goes to show that any shitty band can put out a mediocre record and get at LEAST 3 stars on this site)

Anonymous (October 17, 2005)

earily green day had makeup?

Anonymous (October 17, 2005)

Allister = Early greenday minus the makeup


Anonymous (October 17, 2005)

i thought that punknews.org did not review the drive thru stuff after the midtown shit went on ...

SilentStorms (October 17, 2005)

Who the fuck said that shit!?!?

SilentStorms (October 17, 2005)

I can't believe I misquoted. Fuck IT up it's stupid ass. Damn I deserve negative points for that one.

SilentStorms (October 17, 2005)

I remember liking Allister after their first cd came out, then I realized it sucked. Guess what? That's right, fuck pop punk. Fuck up it's stupid ass.

Anonymous (October 17, 2005)

I cannot stand comments like this: "I can't tell the difference between Allister, Mest and the Sugarcult. I'd rather listen to the Lawrence Arms."

So why are you posting here? No one cares what ya'all listen to the column is to comment on the album. I, and I'm sure others here as well, feel dumber for having read statements such as the above quoted.
I enjoyed the album to the point where I am satisfied from listening to it. I will not be exclaiming to everyone I see go out and buy this album! but if someone asks I would say yeah if definately check it out.

Anonymous (October 17, 2005)


Anchors (October 15, 2005)

One word regarding this review;


It can be fixed easily, but sayin'.

William_David (October 15, 2005)

A Response to my fans and sworn enemies...

-The Fraggle Rock cover was welcome...enough said.

-This is not Nickelback, I promise you that. Maybe you think a band playing the same 4 chords over and over is more punk, but I admire a band that puts more thought into their music.

-aahhhh, have you heard the CD? Do you have anything to back up your comments?

-Superdude...funny. I wasn't saying they should be praised nor shunned for sounding like Lit, it's just a comparison for people to get an idea of what the sound is like. Whether you like it or not, when I mention Lit, everyone sees to know who I'm talking about, right?

-Who cares if it's main stream or not? Isn't a good record a good record?

-sickboi, thanks for the opinion. I don't expect everyone to like or dislike it. I think it's cool enough that that the style is noticable. For better or worse, it's obviously differnt from others.

-William David

i-type-poorly (October 15, 2005)

ugh, that last thing i want to hear is a band like Allister "maturing"

Home Grown did the same thing and look what happened...

Blagh, this is going to sound sad, but I liked Drive Thru a lot more when it was mindless pop-punk, and not this self indulgent "trying to be something we're not" emo-pop-punk

Anonymous (October 15, 2005)

I can't tell the difference between Allister, Mest and the Sugarcult. I'd rather listen to the Lawrence Arms.

Anonymous (October 15, 2005)

"Their new sound is reminiscent of Litâ??s catchy rock style. There are also traces of Bowling for Soup"

What a way to promote an album. Its a hell of a lot better than what this douchebag reviewer has said. Of course it is overproduced, what drive thru full length hasnt been overproduced in the last 4 years??


Anonymous (October 15, 2005)

............there's a place we used to go....................

Anonymous (October 15, 2005)

fall out boy > allister

aahhhh (October 14, 2005)


Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

Someone should send me that Fraggle Rock cover, that song ruled.

- Kirby

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

Great Album I love it. As my nick name states Arrival I will say I LOVE! Allister so I am ashamed of the fools righting bad reviews cause this album kicks ass. This album ROX!

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

their first record was a solid pop punk record

catchy songs, not too slick or overproduced, occasional musical fuckups etc.

Anchors (October 14, 2005)

Best Superdude comment yet.

sickboi (October 14, 2005)

I really do not like this kid's writing style.

homie (October 14, 2005)

Lit? Bowling for Soup??? Wow, two of the shittiest bands ever recorded. I can't imagine a CD I want to listen to less than this if that's what it sounds like.

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

Somewhere down in fullertown theres a place...........

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

There's a few really good songs on this cd but as a whole this cd just sounds way too mainstream. If this cd was on Capitol Records it would be more appropriate. Some of the songs sound just like Simple Plan.

Last Stop Suburbia was an outstanding pop punk album. That cd from start to finish is one of the catchiest punk cd's of all time. I rank it right up there with ......Anywhere but Here by The Ataris.

The Ataris however have progressed nicely with slower songs but still maintain their ultra-catchy melodies. This new Allister cd is a step back, it almost sounds like they're restricting themselves to please a major record label even though it's not on a major label. Pop punk is meant to be catchy, not dark.

poopypants (October 14, 2005)

I really like this cd. its everything I like about pop punk. yea, a lot of the songs are about breakups, but the singer really DID breakup w/ his girlfriend of 4 years before writing this cd. and they arent sappy ass breakup songs either, they're pretty mature but nothing deep.

i dont' think its very different from 'last stop suburbia' just a little more mature, 'blackout' and 'waiting' are a bit edgier than their normal sugar coated stuff.


niveK82 (October 14, 2005)

2. Where are the switches?

They have pull chains

skaboom (October 14, 2005)

Superdude rocks.

And I agree with him on the last point. Evolving to sound like Lit is a good thing?

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

hahah that last comment is hilarious!!! great cd!!!!

superdude (October 14, 2005)

This review was pretty good, but here's how I would make it better:

1. The cover is very unrealistic. There's isn't light bulbs in nature.

2. Where are the switches?

3. If they're pushing a darker image, why do they have lightbulbs on the cover? Those are bright.

4. Maybe the light bulbs are there because of their fondness for Lit that you mention.

5. People liked Lit?

aahhhh (October 14, 2005)

this cd is god awful.

in order:
dead ends and girlfriends (good fast pop-punk)
last stop suburbia (a bit overproduced, but still mostly good songs)

before the blackout (this cd is just terrible. the song lyrics are the most predictable i've ever heard and the music is uninspired. overproduced to the max)

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

Last Stop Suburbia was a solid but totally unchallenging pop punk album with a few standout tracks and a lot of filler.

I suppose it's positive that they don't want to just regurgitate taht album again and are trying to develop as a band but if that means sounding like Lit and Bowling For Soup I think I'll pass.

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

"grow on you" buzz word for shite-oldpunker-

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

I wasn't a fan of their last record, and based on the Lit and rock riff comments, I could only imagine that this sounds like Nickelback playing a safe version of pop punk.

Yuck. No thanks.

thirtyseconds (October 14, 2005)

Didn't know they'd finished the album. I may check it out, the last 2 were pretty good. Certainly in no rush to buy this.

AlmostPunkEnough (October 14, 2005)

i remember Romper Room, my brother used to love that shit when he was 2 or whatever. that and Mya the Bee, he would sing the goddamn song all the time.

anyway, this is actually pretty damn good as far as pop-punk goes. a million times better than Fall Out Boy or garbage of that nature. i would give it better than a 7, but it's just too derivative. whatever though, it's fun and catchy as hell, so suck it.

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

Allister's not terrible

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

Last Stop Suburbia was a very good pop-punk album

I look forward to listening to this.

localh (October 14, 2005)

fraggle rock was cool but this is definately butt rock

Anonymous (October 14, 2005)

ironicly enough, this cd cover reminds me of that one even in blackouts cd.

jamespastepunk (October 14, 2005)

I'm mildly hopeful for this CD.

stevejonestherealbones (October 14, 2005)

ifraggle rock was cool i guess

anyone ever see that show romper room i think? it was a bunch of pre schoolers and trhe host had a mirror, and she ended every show with "i see billy, and mike, and blah blah blah"? had to be mid 80s

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

notfeelingcreative (October 14, 2005)

Yeah, this is the band that did fraggle rock as well as the backstreet boys cover song on one of their records.

etwiels88 (October 14, 2005)

Dance your cares away, worries for another day

stevejonestherealbones (October 14, 2005)

is this the band that did the fraggle rock cover awhile back? or was that a different bunch of sallys?

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

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