The Blackout are back. Having changing record company to Cooking Vinyl, the band seems to have a new passion and enthusiasm which really shines through on this latest offering, Hope. The Blackout have honed their post-hardcore sound and this record really shows *cliché alert* the signs of a band coming to maturity.
Hooks, catchy riffs and melodies explode throughout this record only held in sync by the pounding drums. The opening track gently lures you in as the clean guitar riff gets dirtier and dirtier before subsiding until the emphatic chorus. This sets the tone for what’s to come. The production is fantastic, the songs are well crafted and there is a good variance in the tracks ranging from out and out rockers to songs which are inspiring and lifting.
The songs are far more darker and self-reflective than previous albums. Hope incorporates the desperation and sadness of the title but the album is also about ‘pushing forward and keeping your head high’ as co-vocalist Gavin Butler states. This double meaning of the word hope is self-evident in the song titles such as ‘Never By Your Side’ and ‘Keep on Moving’.
‘Higher and Higher’ encapsulates the diversification of The Blackout on this album with some power riffery driving the song, good use of effects in the verse, an intricate uplifting chorus and a rather odd rap breakdown. However, The Blackout never stray too far from their anthem-fueled roots but that is what defines The Blackout so why should they?
Hope is a strong offering but there are numerous similarities with some songs to their contemporaries such as The Lostprophets sounding ‘The Last Goodbye’ and ‘Hope (Scream It Out Loud)’ and the Atreyu-esque ‘The Devil Inside’. Nevertheless, Hope does provide something intrinsically different as well and is very appealing. Perhaps its the interplay between the two vocalists or maybe it’s just the consistently good songs which never take their finger of the pulse.
Being on an independent-minded record label has given The Blackout more freedom to explore new sounds and new avenues whilst staying true to themselves, something which probably made their previous record, The Best In Town far too radio-friendly orientated. While Hope is no boundary-pusher, it is a great listen. The album is a consummate effort which progresses well and never really loses its way.
Catch The Blackout on tour now: http://www.livenation.co.uk/
Good: Great songs and a well crafted album
Bad: Nothing new and similarities with other bands