Dangerkids – blacklist_ (Review)

Dangerkids are a post-hardcore band formed in 2012, consisting of Andy Bane, Tyler Smyth, Jake Bonham, Alex Asch and Katie Cole. We couldn’t be more excited about reviewing their sophomore album: blacklist_ after previously featuring “Kill Everything” and “Things Could Be Different”.

blacklist_ has “Kill Everything” as the first track on the album. “Kill Everything” sets a strong scene of what’s to come, starting with a defiant heavy drum beat and a build-up of guitar and electronics. Tyler Smyth is then in our faces with a rap verse (“Dedicate this song to anybody that doubts me“), before the roar of the chorus.

“Tell me I won’t kill everything
And start again”

When “Nobody’s taller than the last man standing” is screamed, it has the feel of the entire band combining as one superpower, using their instruments to wage war against their enemies, each of them contributing their own musical powers. Needless to say, it’s awesome and “Kill Everything” packs a punch.

“Blacklist” is next, starting innocently enough with sweet notes. But it’s another powerful track and is blown wide open with sick guitars, heavy beats and roared vocals. Strong beats stake claim of this space, there is no question of it: Dangerkids are here. If you let it, you can be taken away by this song with a path being made by the guitar solo and expansive feeling going along with it.

We are the movement
This is the blacklist!”

“Inside Out” has so much awesomeness going on it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s talk about the guitar sound for one, the smoothness of sound through the verses, that sweet build-up to the chorus, the massive sound at the choruses, the explosive sound and maniacal laugh, then further expansion when you think there’s nothing more possible, and back to the guitars at the end of the song with an impressive wrap-up. Phew!

You destroy me from the inside out
But it only makes me love you more
I guess there’s nothing left to talk about
And I just don’t care anymore
If that’s the way that it has to be
Then break your teeth when you take a bite of me”

“Crawl Your Way Out” starts with a beautiful cinematic sound and light beats. Even if new to Dangerkids, we know that more is coming. Yep, the cinematic sound is supported by sweet sweet heavy guitar and impressive drums. The verse feels like swimming underwater (“Room full of friends and I’m all alone”), it’s a passionate story about the challenges of rising despite people doubting you. I got goosebumps with “Crawl Your Way Out”, the drum beats almost seeming tribal with this sense of going through a ritual of defining just how badly something is wanted. This is important!

You said they’d never listen anyway,
Now they sing along to all the songs that you hate.”

I love that Dangerkids have thought about blacklist_ being an experience to be enjoyed from beginning to end, and created evolutions between tracks where one song connects to another.

Not going to lie, “Things Could Be Different” has been on heavy rotation. I just don’t know how a song gets better than this. It’s relentless, demanding, kicks ass and takes names. It’s heavy on all fronts, has a perfect combination of the rapped vocals as well as the power choruses. And that breakdown from 2:08. That mega collision of sound. I’m not going to disclose how many times that particular part has been played here. Impressive from start to finish.

“Ghost In The Walls” is the next track. The melody is so familiar due to listening to “Things Could Be Different” times infinity (with the melody at its end), that listening to “Ghost In The Walls” was like greeting an old friend. But now the old friend has come bearing heavy guitars, sick beats and beautiful vocals. Lose yourself in this one, which is sharing questions they have about death (“There’s a part of me that wants to know what’s on the other side”). It’s another powerful track.

“Nothing Worth Saving” began with an epic introduction, and drew me in with its lyrics:

I’ve been waiting for so long
For you to complicate me
And I can’t bare to watch these scars
Turn into something breathing now
Could you be the one that saves me
From the nothing I’ve become
Or if you’re done
Throw me away.”

Much of the vocals of “Nothing Worth Saving” are sung with a neutral/numb expression, which captures that sense of nothingness. The fire of emotion only coming in with the demand to be let go (is this then a fight against being nothing?). The vocals took our focus of this track, with the Dangerkids musical superpowers coming in more strongly at the choruses and the rap section.

“Singularity” is an impressive thirty-five second instrumental break out, creating a sense of tension before…

“Summoner’s Rift”, which carries the same melody as “Singularity” and hits hard from the first beat. It’s a confrontation and presents hard truths in the face of another, as well as standing firm in their individual power.

It’s hard to care when you believe in nothing”

“Summoner’s Rift” is possibly the heaviest track on blacklist_, exceptionally done, and has impressive breakdown sections along with screams. This will be played again. And again.

“Glass On Water” is like a horrible nightmare; being underwater and not being able to surface. It’s a clear metaphor for being in struggle and someone creating further difficulty, taking advantage, or just not helping at all.

I was trapped under water with nowhere to go
Cos you gave me your hand just to hold me below
And I tried to forget you
The wave it pulls me down”

It’s another incredible song from Dangerkids, where it all just works; Impressive guitar expressing that sense of struggle, and heavy drum beats the heartbeat. A scream of “Yeah” and we can feel the fire of fight kick in, with screams and watery-sounding vocals combined.

An unexpected acoustic sound comes at the last track on blacklist_, “Invincible Summer”. This is a beautiful track which seems to be about a break up. The guitar sound is so crystal clear I feel like I’m right there, watching a man bare his soul.

What an amazing album! Dangerkids are a force to be reckoned with. blacklist_ is from start to finish an album of powerful tracks which scream loudly about Dangerkids’ unity as a band and how they are not to be ignored.

Dangerkids are here and so is blacklist_. Pay attention.

Listen to Dangerkids’ blacklist_ here:

Kel Burch

Creator and caretaker of Depth Mag, Kel uses her superpowers of empathy, word-weaving, and feeling everything deeply, to immerse herself in music before returning to reality to write about her experience with it.

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