27 September 2015
Blacklisters - Adult
I love this band - their debut album 'BLKLSTRS' (cleverly linked here) was one of my favourite album of 2012/2013 and it was also one of the first bands to get ten out of ten, but since then it has been a waiting game for a new album. Over the last few years, they have lost their original label and all seemed to go a little quiet for one of the most promising bands I have witnessed live. Seriously, any band that can survive a tour with Pig Destroyer, look at if their corpses have been reanimated and then deliver a set that destroyed the rest of the competition for me at Damnation 2012. They have toured a few times and they have still destroyed every time I have seen them, but I have been awaiting a new album ever since it was announced. Seriously, just reading their Facebook comments makes me confused and laugh out loud - sometimes at the same time. Either way, 'Adult' is an anticipated release for me and now it is time to find out how this compares to one of my favourite albums.
Starting the album is "Shirts" which was released as a single this year (backed by "Something In The Wayne"); it starts with feedback, the riff then starts to repeat and then there is a huge second dose of feedback before the song erupts with the pace of tectonic plates rubbing together and the destructive energy of the earthquakes that come from the movement. The slow groove pace of the song is very hypnotic, they sound as if they are controlling a rage underneath all of that sound and when it does it feels fiercer. The menacing sound that they create is more important than the explosive point of the song, it takes what they had achieved on songs such as "Ask Yourself a Question If the Answer Is Go Fuck Yourself" and "Shush" from "BLKLSTRS" and push it a step further. "Cash Cow" is the immediate response from the band to "Shirts" and whilst it is another song that is not going to speed away from the listener, but it does up the ante. It groove like a motherfucking pimp strutting his stuff, the bass sounds like a monster and the lyrics sound as off the wall as ever. It grabs your attention from the opening second to the explosive ending that sounds as if chaos is about to take over everyone. In a contender for title of the year "The Sadness of Axl Rose" is the third track of the album, with a post hardcore riff that sounds like bullets being shot overhead, the drums sound tight as fuck, the bass (fuck me, how does it keep getting better) and the screaming are fucking phenomenal of this song. It is a glorious wall of noise that makes me smile like a dumb bastard, the song once again takes the stakes higher with another groove laden song that will sound like a bomb going off at their gigs.
"Big Ticker" rumbles (quite literally) onto the listener with evil intentions and the bass/drum destructive sound are the perfect backdrop to the howling and feedback from the guitar as the song starts to smash the listener into a nice bloody pool which is made up of the content of their internal organs. It is a very simple song, but do not be fooled to think that simple means foolish - it is a song that builds on a very basic principle; noise can be made into a beautiful sound that will keep repeating in the listener's head for many hours after it has finished playing. When the band hit those spots, it sounds like they are ready to take over the world and this is one of a number of highlights on this record. "Weasel Bastard" is the song that was lost from the new Faith No More album - it sounds very influenced by those crazy bastards and that is not a bad thing in my book, it is still as off the wall and original as all the other songs that this band create, but the influence of San Francisco legends cannot be denied here. The first minute is just the drum, guitar and bass on repeat to snare the listener, then a small dose of feedback which snaps out as we go back to the repetitive riff combo once again. We do not get any vocals till the two minute twenty-ish mark of the song, over half of the track passes before a voice is heard and even then it is a measured, spoken vocal before the riff explodes very briefly as the song approaches the end. I love this song, it fucks with my head and it does not change that much from beginning to end - a curious and compelling song for me. As if trying to keep the audience second guessing themselves, the band unleash the two minute bomb called "I Knock Myself Out" which runs with a furious pace for this album. It is a short, sharp track that does not outstay its welcome or pause for breath. Whilst most of the songs of this album not exactly epic in length (ranging between the two to four minute mark), it is the one track which I wish could have been extended; but that is because the riff is brilliant, so I will content myself with having the sexy beast on repeat.
The song fades into "Dream Boat" is back to the menacing section of Blacklisters reporite. It is the complete opposite to "I Knock Myself Out" and it feels as if we are catching our collective breath before the band start to smash our skulls once more with the wreck-less abandon that is their calling card. The song is built on noise from beginning to end and the vocals are so far in the background, you are straining to hear what is being said. It is a good song, not my favourite on the album but it is certainly one of the most interesting tunes on this record. The next track is called "Power Ballad" and thank the living fuck they have not gone all Def Leppard here; they sound like they are looking for a target to attack with all the survival and vicious technique of a wounded animal. Back on their explosive best, the band create another song to smash your brain into a bloody pulp and they are not bothered in any way, shape or form. Once more, the band aggression is hammered out in a groove that grabs your attention as they howl at the world. The penultimate song of the album is "Priss" and starts with a stop start riff that forms the main base of the song, before the slow post-hardcore groove begins once more. There has been no let-up with this album, each song has been a constant hammering of aggression on the audience and this song is no different. It is not one of my favourite of the record, but it still keeps the album pointing in the right direction. Ending the album is "Downbeat" and everything is slowed down to a glacier paced drone with this number, there is nothing here but measured punishment. When they do change it up, it is still keeps that sludge nature and its drone nature is something that you can easily be lost in. The song itself is about four minutes long, but there is a small pause before you get a secret track which is a polar opposite to the rest of the album. Deep notes that sound haunting and if you have left the album running will scare the shite out of people if they are not expecting it, it is a gentle ending to the album that I beat no-one was expecting.
Second albums can be a tricky thing for some artists, some bands can do it and some band just do not have it in them to make that second record. I am pleased to report that Blacklisters are one of the bands who have been able to create a compelling and interesting second album. It does not try to imitate their first album and have made another fabulous slice of noise that does not disappoint. If there was an issue to be noted on the album, it would be the track ordering; it ends a little too slowly for me (and I do not mean the secret track). "Priss" and "Downbeat" are great songs, but it seems to weigh the ending a little bit too much. But that is just the pedantic opinion of a silly boy from North East England. Whilst I prefer the first album, I still love this one as well; the band sound as if they have not lost their spark that made 'BLKLSTRS' such a ball of fury, 'Adult' is another brilliant moment from this Leeds mob - buy it now.
9.5 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost......
You can purchase the album from Amazon
You can purchase the album from Independent Music here
You can visit the Blacklisters website here
You can follow their activities (and strange/wonderful messages) here
You can stream the album on Spotify here
You can stream the album on Deezer here
You can stream the album on Tidal here
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