In 2008, Blacklisted released a perfect hardcore album. Hardcore bands typically do not last long after producing a perfect album. See, for example, Gorilla Biscuits, Refused, Kid Dynamite, etc. Blacklisted, like other hardcore bands that have produced such amazing albums, is not satisfied to continue churning out the same album over and over again.
Last year, Blacklisted released No One Deserves to Be Here More Than Me, introducing '90s rock, grunge, post-punk and electronic/atmospheric elements. While quite controversial in the hardcore scene, it was certainly popular at Punknews.
Early this year, Blacklisted released a followup 7", Eccentrichine. In it, Blacklisted takes another step away from its hardcore roots in its continuing effort to redefine itself. The 7" is comprised of four songs. The A side contains "Stones Throw" and an alternate version of "P.I.G.", a track off No One Deserves to Be Here More Than Me. The B side contains the title track as well as an acoustic version of "Wish," a standout track from 2008's Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God.
The two new songs, "Stones Throw" and "Eccentrichine," are both incredible. The 7" opens with the line, "My face lays firmly pressed / against the window of some strangers' house / trying to feel the love that occurs / between two spouses. / The violent screaming and fighting / the children crying / as the light from the television flickers / keeping them warm and inviting." The song proceeds slowly and lightly until the chorus crescendos: "I keep the world at bay with all the... I keep the world at bay with all the stones I throw!" You will listen to this song many times.
"Eccentrichine" is the heaviest song on the EP, though it still is in many ways more of a loud, fuzzed-out punk song than a hardcore song. But it is still wonderful to hear a peak of Blacklisted's heavier roots behind their new, softer facade.
While the new songs are excellent, the new versions of the old songs are not as good. The new version of "P.I.G." is, in my opinion, better than the last version, but it had been my least favorite song on last year's album. This version is not acoustic, which is an immediate improvement, but it is enough only to turn a mediocre song into a pretty good song--not enough to bring it up to Blacklisted's usual standards.
On the other hand, "Wish" faces the opposite problem, and as a result it is the most disappointing song on the 7". "Wish" was one of the best songs on Heavier Than Heaven--a crowd favorite. As a general rule, acoustic versions of great songs are usually substantially worse than the original, and this is no exception. It takes one of my favorite hardcore songs and turns it, again, into a pretty good song. Note that both of these re-recorded tracks are good enough to be standout tracks on most records, but they do not hold up to the great new material on this record.
Overall, this 7" makes me extremely interested to see where the band will wind up. They seem still to be searching for their new sound. Heavier Than Heaven was their second full-on hardcore LP, so clearly this is a band that gets better with practice.
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