Blacklisted - When People Grow, People Go (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


When People Grow, People Go (2015)

Deathwish Inc.

Blackisted get right back to basics. Embedded in nothing else but the hardcore roots that they grew their sound on, When People Grow, People Go isn't about experimentation or fucking around (which I'm sure a lot of people may have thought given Will Yip was producing). It's a clear, affirmative statement that's pretty much straight to the point -- the boys are back and you better clear the way. I've read fans posing the question -- 'Is this a return or a rebirth?' -- and I can't really blame their apprehension given the polarizing factor Yip left with PBTT and Title Fight fans. But what I can do is emphatically answer -- 'Who gives a shit? Just be glad that a band like this is back making music!' -- and I'll boldly continue to do so because this may well be...actually, no...scratch that...this IS one of the most important and straightforward hardcore record of the past few years.

'We all die disguised' is one of George Hirsch's most haunting and emotive lyric to date. He continues his scything mannerism on the mic and "Insularized" is the perfect opener to signal Blacklisted's return to the fray of things. Like I said, it's straightforward hardcore and much credit to Yip for a near flawless execution technical-wise. He allows the band to swim in the seas they're most comfortable in and again, I applaud what's done here. The production quality's really remarkable and brings forth the rage we all waited so long to hear. Hirsch's delivery, to me, is his most powerful to date without going too overboard. I love how vulnerable and candid his lyrics are amid the raging riffs and distorted, gigantic sounds at play. His unbridled honesty sprinkled over the punk disposition of "Turn In The Pike" brings how well he's crafted his game and arguably so, how much the break's actually helped him out. I can only imagine the chaos that'll emerge in the pit when these tracks are unleashed live. Most of them are emotionally ripping and well, not to sound too fanboy-ish, they really fucking shred. The tension on tap soaks into your veins so fucking well. Deathwish proved the ideal label for this, no doubt.

When things slow down (and they don't really slow down that much), Hirsch lets his vocals roam a tad and it's another great dimension added, with these tracks garnering a lot more replay value. The calloused "Burnt Palms" as well as "Foreign Observer" stand out on this note. Introspective hardcore at its best. In fact, these tracks sent me back into Blacklisted's catalog for the upcoming weeks and I can't wait to couple this with some Code Orange. When People Grow, People Go is unquestionably the album that'll be setting the standard for hardcore this year so comparing and analyzing other bands from the past decade should be pretty interesting, as I wait to see what else shoots out in 2015.

Ultimately, the album doesn't lean on the too ambitious side and that's a good thing because in its musical simplicity, Blacklisted bring out more heart. Electric. Explosive. Inspiring. Damaging. And of course, original. They don't reinvent any wheel here but still, as the closing track shows, they're anything but short of imagination. 'There's no easy way to explain / When People Grow / People Go' has a subtle melody to it as it pushes the record to its limits. It's succinct enough to get its point across (as do most of the songs) as the album's title expands on one of life's major lessons. Unfortunately, it's one we learn the hard way. But alas, good things do come from these moments and these 11 tracks are a sample of such light amid the darkness.