Everyone wants to go out with a bang, but it’s a task much easier said than done. Salisbury, Md. rockers Life on Repeat are attempting to do just that, announcing the release of their new album Blacklisted on the same day that they announced their disbandment. After the album’s release and four farewell shows, the band will be no more, which is unfortunate since Blacklisted is the band’s best work to date.
This final album hits hard and fast from the opening notes of “Karma Calls” and doesn’t take its foot off the gas pedal. Life on Repeat manages to avoid the current scene formula by excluding any ballads or acoustic tracks and simply exploring a multitude of hard rock styles over the course of ten songs. Although this choice can lend itself to repetitiveness, the band manages to switch things up enough to keep the listener interested.
Frontman Patrick Purves’ vocals soar throughout Blacklisted, especially on the album’s best track, “Cut Open”. Not only does he have a knack for writing extremely catchy choruses, but the melodies are spot on throughout. What he lacks in depth of content, he makes up for in memorable hooks that will have you singing along. Blacklisted isn’t an album that will have you digging deep, but it’s certainly a stereo-blaster and a celebration of the band’s time on the scene.
Guitarists Andrew Baylis and Zach King both shine as well, knowing when to push the songs and when to let Purves carry the weight. Their styles transition from post-hardcore to nu metal to straight up radio rock with relative ease. Tracks like “Atypical” and “Vanity” are heavy rock numbers you could imagine hearing alongside certain radio heavyweights while “This Conditioned Lie” and “The Conscious Goodbye” have moments that sound as though they belong on Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight.
While one might expect these transitions to be jarring, they never feel too out of place. You could argue that Purves’ screamed vocals are unnecessary and a bit forced, or that Blacklisted isn’t ambitious or forward-thinking enough for a proper farewell album, but these are small gripes. The truth is, Blacklisted is snapshot of Life on Repeat – who they were and where they were headed.
Blacklisted likely won’t land on most people’s best of the year lists and doesn’t shatter the mold of the hard rock genre, but it’s a worthy sendoff and a proper glimpse into the band that was Life on Repeat. Much like one of their contemporaries, Conditions (a band that also recently decided to hang it up), Life on Repeat was about connecting with fans and empowering them along their journey. This final album captures that sentiment and manages to have a pretty good time in the process.
by Kiel Hauck
Kiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.