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Album Review: Adult by Blacklisters

Leeds noise rock act Blacklisters release their sophomore album, Adult, on 18th September via Smalltown America. Confrontational and aggressive throughout, it is a formidable beast that mirrors the essence of the band’s live shows.

From the opening bars of ‘Shirts’ you get the sense that Blacklisters aren’t prepared to harness and tone done the noise and aggression that made their 2012 debut BLKLSTRS such a thrilling call to arms. That’s the magical thing about Blacklisters, in a time where mainstream rock much has become bland and predicable, they are the perfect antithesis. Laced with dark humour and the lunatic scream of Billy Mason Wood, there are enthralling moments of unbridled aggression at every turn.

It’s plainly obvious that Adult isn’t just more of the same from Blacklisters either. There’s a noticeable progression in the song structure and minimalist riffs. Where BLKLSTRS was difficult appreciate at times, Adult isn’t held back all out abrasiveness. Take ‘Big Ticker’ as an example, it is pure aggression yet there’s something grown up and progressive about it. The soaring riff carries the track to a whole different level. Compare that to the straight out chaos and power of opener ‘Shirts’, which has all the elements that made ‘Trickfuck’ the band’s go-to track. It’s those two sides of Blacklisters that make them such a compelling band.

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Perhaps the best thing about Adult is that fact that it condenses the band’s ferocious live presence perfectly into 40 minutes. You didn’t quite get that from BLKLSTRS, but here you couldn’t ask for more. The build up and thunderous bass lines of ‘Weasel Bastard’ and the ferocious balls to wall aggression of ‘I Knock Myself Out’ are prime examples. Both tracks get the blood racing and send a shiver down the spine. ‘Dream Boat’ is the standout track of the album, the aggression isn’t as in your face as other tracks, yet the simmering bass lines and crushingly heavy riffs do all the talking. With the aggression wrapped up in the music it allows you to appreciate the bands new found talent in song structure and a more obvious musicianship.

‘Power Ballad’ unsurprisingly is anything but a power ballad. The riffs are crushingly heavy and Mason-Wood’s snarl adds an element of brutality and evilness that thrills the listener. ‘Priss’ simmers and pierces the ears with its vicious riffs before epic album closer ‘Downbeat’ condenses the themes and sound of the album into 8 glorious minutes.

With Adult Blacklisters have served up the perfect fuck you to mainstream rock. This is how to do music with aggression and integrity. It’s certainly not going to be for everyone, but if you like big dirty antagonistic riffs, and a vocal with plenty of rage then this is essential.

AD Rating 8/10

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