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Blacklisted - Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God (Cover Artwork)

Blacklisted

Blacklisted: Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than GodHeavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God (2008)
Deathwish Inc.

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


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

Hardcore is a difficult genre to exist in. Fickle fans, guaranteed financial failure and quick stylistic turnovers lead to a short life expectancy for bands. The majority of bands that experience any success burn brightly for a time and fade away quickly or just stagnate, rarely releasing more than .
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Hardcore is a difficult genre to exist in. Fickle fans, guaranteed financial failure and quick stylistic turnovers lead to a short life expectancy for bands. The majority of bands that experience any success burn brightly for a time and fade away quickly or just stagnate, rarely releasing more than a handful of quality records. It's exceedingly rare for a band to grow and improve in an environment crowded with the prevalent "I liked their first 7-inch better" mentality, but when dealing with Blacklisted, these trends simply do not apply.

Blacklisted was already a good band and deservingly popular when they were derailed by sudden health problems and broke up during the `06 Sound and Fury Fest. Then, to everyone's surprise, like some sort of ultra-strength super-zombie, the band arose from its fresh grave as a tighter, bolder and more focused beast capable of incendiary live shows and released the universally praised Peace on Earth, War on Stage 7". A year later, with the hardcore hype machine running on maximum, the question became, "Can Blacklisted keep up with its own momentum?"

Absolutely. With its verbose title and intense blasts of ridiculously powerful songs, Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God acts both as a continuation of the style found on POEWOS and as a next step for the band, adding a newly displayed 108 and Quicksand influence. As a bonus, there is a clearly enhanced level of musicianship and Kurt Ballou's production actually improves on his work with POEWOS. The band is tighter on the heavy parts and even more manic on the fast parts. They even expand their repertoire with some great textural work on "Circuit Breaker" and some faint Greg Ginn-styled guitar soloing on "Matrimony." This is the record Blacklisted has been hinting they could make.

The album opens with "Stations," starting with a few seconds of guitar noise before one hit and an explosion of speed and aggression. It's followed with a buildup to a completely satisfying and hard-as-fuck groove while frontman George Hirsch sings, "I feel hopeless when I just wish I could feel a little less." As the band has grown tighter and more focused over time, Hirsch has gone through a similar progression. While always having possessed a thick and strong screaming voice, he has elevated his style to consistently include melody. The bluesy inflections he puts over the heavy parts add exponential power over typical straightforward screaming. With more and more hardcore bands like War Hungry or the Mongoloids experimenting with this approach, it can often sound forced and awkward, but Hirsch utilizes it effortlessly and appropriately.

The template for "Stations" remains consistent throughout the album, as the band stays focused and tight while Hirsch publicly addresses his demons. He deals with doubt, ponders insanity and acidicly questions the idea of marriage ("Now that he said 'I do,' can you finally please your mother?") before declaring, "I just want to love myself."

Throughout the 11 songs, we witness Hirsch on a quest. Like jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, he never seems satisfied, constantly exploring himself through his work. Coupled with this constant search for self he displays a rare honesty, unafraid to show weakness or strength. He is both strong-willed and undeniably vulnerable. At once able to damn the flaws around him and then turn around and question his own existence. In the A side closer, "Circuit Breaker," the band breaks down into a rare slow groove as Hirsch tries to convince himself "I have nothing to prove, I have nothing to prove." This may or may not be true, but damn if it isn't powerful.

With eight of the 11 tracks clocking in at less than two minutes, the band displays a knack for getting to the point. Some fans may be dismayed at the album's length, but the band actually proves itself as an expert at self-editing. Every riff is set up the right way and played for just the right amount of time. They say what they came to say and get out. This lends itself to a profound effect on the listener and to added replay value.

What ultimately separates Blacklisted from the rest of the pack of contemporary hardcore bands is their approach. They don't try to write the hardest riff or the cleverest lyric. They don't worry about what that the kids in the flat-brimmed hats with arms crossed at the side of the stage will think of them. Instead, they just go for it, creating music rooted in emotion, exorcising their demons and transcending the narrow confines of their genre. Acting coaches are commonly heard to utter the directive "commit" to aspiring thespians that can't break through the barrier of real emotional performance. In this sense, Blacklisted "commits" like few others in heavy music.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Touché Amoré - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and MeBlacklisted - No One Deserves to Be Here More Than Me [12 inch]Blacklisted - Peace on Earth, War on Stage [7 inch]Paint It Black - CVAPaint It Black - New LexiconHave Heart - Songs to Scream at the SunTouché Amoré - ...To the Beat of a Dead Horse [12 inch]Blacklisted - Eccentrichine [7-inch]Make Do and Mend - End Measured MilePulling Teeth - Martyr Immortal

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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.
gugl0003 (March 2, 2012)

This is practically a perfect hardcore album

davebrave4 (May 10, 2010)

Can we get a review about the whole band and not just the singer?

brown (October 20, 2009)

I was convinced Defeater released the best hardcore album of last year, even after I heard this. However after listening to it repeatedly I realized that this album hits me in an emotional way that very, very seldom albums have. I'm going to wholeheartedly give this a perfect score, something I never do. This shit is flawless, at least in my eyes.

24HourPriapism (May 28, 2008)

jesus christ, just bought this the other day due to a resurgence in funds.

this shit is motherfucking ferocious. george's vocal delivery just keeps getting better and better. and there's some great artwork in the booklet too.

joeyedge (May 6, 2008)

this record is probably the best hardcore record of the year, this band is super underrated in my opinion, go to one of their shows and you'll see what i'm talking about. they worked their asses off on this record and they have so many good albums out but the only one that sticks out in peoples minds is peace on earth, listen to our youth is wasted, soooooo good. i love this album.

johnnydanger (April 4, 2008)

Love it!

sugarfull (April 3, 2008)

Re-evaluating this record, it's not as amazing as when I first heard it; it's okay, but there is much, much better stuff out there.

inagreendase (April 3, 2008)

Uhhhhhhh.

punkgato (April 3, 2008)

A little too much Glassjaw and 18 Visions going on here for this to be "groundbreaking! Intermingling old school chaotic hardcore with the crappier elements of the last decade of hardcore makes this sound like a jumbled mess.

wallofyouth (April 2, 2008)

whoa this is pretty fuckin sweet

ven89 (April 2, 2008)

The hardcore parts are good, but I'm hearing way too much nu-metal in this. I dunno, maybe it'll grow on me?

I also thought new lexicon kind of sucked compared to paradise and cva, oddly enough.

Hey_Asshole (April 2, 2008)

blah blah blah...another day, another shitty hardcore record.

ballooned (April 2, 2008)

I've scored albums on this sight before. Why won't 3 stars go thru. for the third time: 3 STARS.

ballooned (April 2, 2008)

forgot my score.

ballooned (April 2, 2008)

Comparing Blacklisted to John Coltrane makes this entire review pathetic. Are you on drugs or are you really that stupid?

marcusd (April 2, 2008)

This alum slays.

asxyouxwish (April 2, 2008)

John Coltrane, really?...REALLY? i mean, i love this album, but this is hardly a love supreme.

R3vengeTherapy (April 2, 2008)

I was pleasantly surprised by this when I heard it. It's just long enough for me. Blacklisted has never done anything that really held my attention, but this one has done it, especially the song "Circuit Breaker." A very good record.

thus_spoke_sean (April 1, 2008)

stoked to here this when i get home....actually tomorrow......to busy gonig to see converge tonight.....yesssssssss

thus_spoke_sean (April 1, 2008)

stoked to here this when i get home....actually tomorrow......to busy gonig to see converge tonight.....yesssssssss

suburbanxcore (April 1, 2008)

Between this and New Lexicon, Philly has the two best records in hardcore for 08.

This is definitely their best work yet and an awesome continuation of Peace on Earth...

sugarfull (April 1, 2008)

Wow, this is good shit.

Icapped2pac (April 1, 2008)

I stopped reading at "Quicksand influence". I don't need to know any more to have reason to check them out. I will do so when I get home today.

feeeding5000 (April 1, 2008)

Brennan still thinks the is the best hardcore album of the decade. I am not sold, but what I've heard seems okay.

inagreendase (April 1, 2008)

They're not quite there yet, but they're getting close, and this is definitely their best effort. I really like the subtle nuances of the guitars and the recording; there are some weird influences on this, too, but it doesn't hold it back from being a basically ferocious and dynamic hardcore album.

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