Review Summary: The inability to commit to being a forward-thinking hardcore act is what holds this album back from being anything noteworthy.
The simple instrumentation and impassioned vocals of "Insularized" felt like a lead-in for a potentially great album. Unfortunately, When People Grow, People Go
ends up being the poster-boy for tempering one's expectations. Blacklisted has provided a more than serviceable hardcore album that certainly has its highlights, but often feels stagnant and one dimensional. The most frustrating aspect of the album in general is the fact that it is fairly obvious on many tracks they are attempting to change up their songwriting; it just ends up being successful to varying degrees. For example, "Riptide" is a perfect example of Blacklisted proficiently blending a lurching tempo and Keith Buckley-esque vocals in the beginning of the song with the razor-sharp fury in the midsection of the song. The blistering pace in the beginning of "Burnt Palms" seamlessly transitions into a mid-tempo heaviness that boasts of some of vocalist George Hirsch's best passionate wails, and it's songs like these that makes When People Grow, People Go
such a rewarding listen. Unfortunately, you also have songs that plod along and end up killing the momentum that Blacklisted have painstakingly built. "Foreign Observer" sounds like a Norma Jean
B-side off of The Anti-Mother
; while that is not a bad thing in and of itself, there is an uninspired quality to the quasi-clean vocals that ends up making the song seem hollow and passionless.
Blacklisted's inability to commit to progress is apparent with trite songs like "Deeper Kind". It's easy to feel as though the band also misses an opportunity on the title track (sitting at around three and a half minutes) to experiment a bit more with mood and pacing. It ends up simply being a longer version of the monotony experienced throughout When People Grow, People Go
. Consequently, much of the album goes by in unremarkable fashion, making even the highlights a chore to get through. It's a shame because there are many moments within songs where Blacklisted do
end up getting it right. The fast-paced brevity of "Calendars" packs a vicious punch and is gone before it has the chance to falter, and past releases have shown that Blacklisted have what it takes to release a hard-hitting record. When People Grow, People Go
ends up being a disappointment in many respects, but doesn't take away from one thing; Blacklisted still possess the potential to put out another great album. This simply isn't it.