A fall 2007 article in The New Yorker by their resident pop critic Sasha Frere-Jones posited that indie rock lost its soul about the same time it lost its...well, soul, as in its connection to R&B and dance music. A similar argument could be made that contemporary metal lost a lot of its innate appeal when metal bands apparently unilaterally decided to strip the sex out of the music. Not that all metal needs to sound like Warrant's "Cherry Pie" or anything like that, but just an acknowledgement that sometimes the leather pants want to be undone, y'know? The first full-length by Welsh metalcore kids the Blackout is a potentially intriguing step in the right direction, though the album's execution reveals some of the flaws in the plan as well. First off, judging by the band photos, the six teenagers who make up the Blackout could easily pass for some sort of teen pop boy band à la the Click Five, with just a touch more eyeliner and hair product. Despite the fact that the Blackout are on the highly respected U.K. indie label Fierce Panda, it's hard to shake the feeling that this album is the early stage of a long-term marketing plan to introduce teenage girls into grindcore. A less silly issue is that with lyrics like "I wanna taste those lips/Why don't you shake those hips?" (from "I Know You Are, But What Am I?") and song titles like the even less subtle "Spread Legs, Not Lies," there's a healthy level of interest in the opposite sex on display here, but the music is the same herky-jerky form of metallic post-hardcore that seemingly hundreds of other bands plow their way through, and the vocals are delivered in the usual metalcore shriek, a vocal style which can be effective in the right context, but which simply isn't at all sexy. The Blackout get points for wanting to do something notably different from the current norm in their chosen musical subgenre, but they lack the commitment to close the deal.
We Are Dynamite Review
by Stewart Mason