Review Summary: Dangerkids return after a near four year hiatus and maintain all the momentum they had before.
The year is 2014. I'm attending the Vans Warped Tour. The hot son is impeding me as I stand in line for the Crown the Empire signing. A good thirty feet away, an underground band by the name of Dangerkids is performing on the Kevin Says stage, attracting a large crowd and giving what is by far the best performance I witnessed that day. I went home a fan of this group and almost immediately fell in love with their album Collapse
. As months turn to years, I patiently wait for the group to release new music, or at least announce it. A month into 2017 and Dangerkids is finally back with their follow up effort, Blacklist_
Formed in Dayton, Ohio, Dangerkids are a post harcore, metalcore and electronicore hybrid cut from the cloth as bands like Linkin Park. What separates Dangerkids from many bands who emulate Linkin Park is they bring an immeasurable amount of energy, both to their studio work and their live shows. The blueprint for their catalog is quite simple; rapped verses, sung choruses, screamed verses, etc. But the group's adrenaline is not only perfectly suited for this Linkin Park mold, it actually gives new life to it. Blacklist_
is everything that made Collapse
an exciting and fulfilling release, while shedding the inexperience at the same time.
Opening track "Kill Everything" begins the album with some eerie guitar distortion which segues into a rapped opening verse from frontman Andy Bane. The mid-tempo verse doesn't offer a seamless transition to the slow-tempo chorus, but the execution is flawless and impossible to argue with. The album's title track offers some hard hitting riffage from Jake Bonham, some solid drumming from Katie Cole and plenty of throaty uncleans. "Inside Out" sees some spit polished cleans from Bane and is a great example of how his vocals have improved since Collapse
Lead off single "Things Could Be Different" and "Nothing Worth Saving" feature more free flowing rapped verses and strong sung choruses with surprisingly good lyrics about change and self worth. "Crawl Your Way Out" is arguably the most melodic track on the album and features more well rounded cleans from Bane. Though almost all of the aforementioned tracks are derived from the rap-metal popularized by Linkin Park, these tracks carry a ton of weight and energy that leaves the listener feeling galvanized in spite of the rather somber lyrical content.
"Ghost in the Walls" is another melodic hard hitter with intense drumming, audible bass and smooth clean vocals. Acoustic album closer "Invincible Summer" brings Blacklist_
to an end on a considerably more somber note, but the mid-tempo riffage, high production value and strong singing from Bane make it a treat for listeners. Needless to say, Blacklist_
is more than just a solid sophomore effort from Dangerkids. This is their breakout release. It outperforms Collapse
by doing everything Collapse
did right, while doing nothing Collapsed
did wrong. A fantastic album all in all, particularly one that I hope is the catalyst for this group's rise in the near future.