Dangerkids Evolve To New Levels In "blacklist_"

One of the most promising young acts of the last few years has been Dangerkids. They sound like the new age Linkin Park with their big choruses and rapped verses, but separate themselves by offering up different messages. Their sophomore album blacklist_ shows a new level to the band.

The singles released prior to the album revealed a lot about the new record's direction. It all began with 'Things Could Be Different,' it's crushingly dark intro with pounding synths and thick guitar punches leading into a driven and big verse. The powerful choruses ring with a strong message: "If you’re sick of all the lies, let me tell you the truth: Nobody wants to be you." The bridge breaks down with epic proportions before the massive, almost cinematic ending. Dramatic single 'Kill Everything' opens up the record, it's pounding drums leads into a powerful and atmospheric track that's not too overly demanding.

Dangerkids' newfound focus on electronic elements helps bring this album a big further. Their debut Collapse was not devoid of electronica, but there's definitely a cleaner and more focussed usage of it on blacklist_. 'Crawl Your Way Out' has wonderfully atmospheric verses, the clean electronics smoothly sweeping over the track, despite some cliché lyrics. The uplifting instrumental helps it move past that, though, an electrifying guitar solo in the bridge making the song epic. The electronics help add dimension to 'Glass On Water,' as well, before the guitars begin to carry the track.

The band does experiment with different sounds throughout the record that aren't confined to electronics. The quiet intro and outro of title track 'blacklist_' helps add some contrast to its brutal core. The acoustic number at the end of the album, 'Invincible Summer' adds a hopeful and optimistic to end the record on. It's sweet melodies and chords give it a very uplifting vibe that helps contrast the energy and anger of the rest of the album on a nice note. The same uplifting vibe is heard in 'Inside Out,' its emotional and powerful nature resolving into an even more confident ending.

Dangerkids have proved that they weren't just another flash in the pan. Their new album blackist_ shows they have evolved to new levels and aren't afraid of taking some risks. All of it paid off.

Favorite Tracks: Things Could Be Different, Inside Out, Invincible Summer

Least Favorite Tracks: Crawl Your Way Out, Nothing Worth Saving

Rating: 79 / 100

Buy or listen to blacklist_ here: