The Blackout
Reviewed by Mark Plummer

Four albums in and The Blackout haven’t slowed down, some bands get complacent, Start The Party is anything but and does exactly what it’s name suggests. Full of fist pumping screams, melodic hooks and crunching guitars, this album is almost unrelentless in what it achieves. Not quite non-stop, but still with the ability to leave listeners both breathless and pumped, in short, this rondo like album is vivacious to say the least.

At times Start The Party does seem to wear thin, loosing steam and questioning itself for answers as to how it should carry on. You emphasize this well, but it’s not the only track. The second half of the album certainly has more variety, but it feels watered down and quashed against breaking out into what it wants to be. Whilst the instrumentation is well delivered, there are also weaker vocal performances that lets this approach down. Feeling almost foreign, these tracks fail to show off a very much in-your-face approach, instead trading it for a more conservative affair. This effect gives the album a somewhat mediocre closing finale, there’s less fire and passion in what’s being heard compared to how it all started.

It’s with relief then that this seemingly uncomfortable encounter is only linked to a few of the tracks on the eleven song album. Much of the attention then, should be given to the remaining tracks, the vocals are more suited to the genre and each track feels powerful and more massive than the other.

We Live On appears to captivate the best of what The Blackout are truly good at, from the upfront bass to the screams and breakdown that could entice anyone to get up and jump, it’s a real gem. It’s worth noting that handing the vocal duties over to two vocalists, gives The Blackout the kind of deliverance that isn’t found elsewhere. One screaming his lungs out, the other bringing more melody to the mix, it fuses into a call and response that puts them ahead of others in their genre.

At the end of the day, yes, it’s the same recycled sound that a lot of post-hardcore bands replicate. Story of The YearFuneral For A Friend and Senses Fail have all something similar going for them, so originality was never to be expected and frankly, would have been a surprise. But life’s not always about needing something new and original every single time, more often than not a good fist-pumping release is all it takes to notch up a great release.

3½ out of 5

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