September 4, 2014
by Bryne Yancey

Lately it seems like there’s an overarching sense of parity permeating through the hardcore scene. Maybe the tough guy aesthetic is wearing thin on current fans and causing difficulty in gaining new ones. Maybe it’s due to incessant hand wringing over what constitutes or deserves the hardcore label. Maybe it’s neither of those things and I’m just a poseur (That is probably the case.) But for a genre with, at least on the surface, fairly rigid characteristics, it can be exhilarating when a band strips some of that rigidity. Blacklisted are one of the few bands keeping hardcore weird and interesting.

Four years removed from the sprawling, unsafe, genre-bending No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me, Blacklisted are just about ready to return with a follow-up—in fact, the album is recorded and currently in the mixing process. Preemptively judging these brief mixing clips, it sounds as if the album will be moody and heavy, not unlike the band’s excellent, slightly grungy 2012 EP So You Are A Magician?

But who knows, really? The innate unpredictability of Blacklisted’s music—no doubt driven by the starkly personal lyrical gymnastics delivered with a sense of calculated abrasion by idiosyncratic frontman George Hirsch—is their greatest asset. It’s a reminder that the Venn diagram between shirtless tough guys and the unsure weirdos standing in the back has never had a larger overlap than it does now.