While originality is basically unachievable in music, opportunities do exist to combine previously concocted things into a completely different and alluring whole. Metalcore is surely an area where this is needed, and a few bands are trying to revitalize the genre through their own unique mixes. One specific group is Dangerkids, an Ohio quartet who rose from the remnants of pop-rock gem This Love. Meshing rapping, singing, and screaming into a style that could be considered a post-hardcore rehashing of Linkin Park, the mix on their 2013 debut, Collapse, was at the very least interesting — if not enticing.
Though the band lost themselves in nostalgia at times, their excellent songwriting and production gave the record life and vibrance. Seamless transitions and meshing of styles — from hints of Innerpartysystem to contemporary -core parallels — made their musical amalgamation fresh, even if it wasn’t necessarily forward-thinking. After a lengthy four-year wait for a follow-up, the group is back with Blacklist_, and they continue in the vein of Collapse with a few tweaks. The most notable change is an increase in musical muscle. A larger expanse of breakdowns is evident, further flaunting the group’s attractive instrumental and electronic sheen. First single “Things Could Be Different” and opening mosh anthem “Kill Everything” showcase the outfit back in full swing.
Dangerkids keeps up Tyler Smyth’s rapping role; yet, on the other hand, Andy Bane’s role as screamer is scaled back a bit. The band relies more on hooks to front its solid post-hardcore display, although it would’ve made more sense to assault listeners’ ears on both the instrumental and vocal fronts. Apart from that dissonant move, Blacklist_ feels a lot like a rehashing of Collapse, and that’s both its biggest pro and con. The record as a whole doesn’t bring forth anything we haven’t seen from the band before, instead focusing on how to revamp the elements already a part of their identity. Resultantly, the title track doesn’t hold back with its booming riffs, while “Inside Out” presents a sensational chorus to offset the power of its predecessor with pristine melody. Later in the album, “Ghost in the Stalls” opens with electronica comparable to that of a video game soundtrack before fusing it with high-octane metal.
Although the LP consistently showcases what the outfit does best, Dangerkids tries their hand at an acoustic song for the first time to solid effect. “Invincible Summer” closes the record with vulnerability after a slew of material full of call-outs and bitter emotions, reminding of This Love’s serenity in ways that neither feels overly saccharine nor stale. Even with the four-piece taking their style to the next level throughout Blacklist_, it’s a welcome endeavor for those seeking something a little more disparate. Obviously, though, they spend most of their time upping the ante — hence, the notable increase in musical aggression. The guitars hit harder than ever on cuts like “Summoner’s Rift” and “Crawl Your Way Out”, leaving little breathing room as they sync up with keyboards and layered vocals.
After four year, Dangerkids hasn’t missed a step, with flawless production complementing their mix of post-hardcore, metalcore, and hard rock on their sophomore disc. Their sparse forward movement isn’t enough to further themselves from Linkin Park, nor does it level them up to the standout status A Day To Remember or Hands Like Houses, but the band still manages to fire on all cylinders. For an act relying so heavily on its influences, that’s enough to pique interest. Blacklist_ starts 2017 off with a reasonably loud bang, and hopefully it’ll still reverberate once the releases begin to stack up.
Post-Hardcore/Hard Rock | Paid Vacation Records