It’s been awhile since we’ve heard a debut from a group not affiliated in some way with Produce 101. BLK (standing for Beyond Limit Key because… I have no idea) hails from Byking Entertainment, an agency that — as far as I can tell — has no previous experience debuting idols. This newness explains the derivative nature of first single Hero, which borrows heavily from already-established boy group tropes.
With tropical house taking over 2017, it’s almost refreshing to hear a song that seeks to replicate the hard-edged, bad-boy trend of a few years ago. But Hero would be more refreshing if it was half as strong as the best of those songs. Its dramatic assault gives the guys ample opportunity to flip around and act tough, but it’s all a lot of bluster masking a barely-there hook. The resounding, thunderdome beat and distorted synths recall many a Monsta X instrumental, failing to distinguish BLK from the pack. The most interesting moment occurs during the track’s extended dance break, when the producers inject a few traditionally Eastern influences. Hero would have been much more engaging had it taken these unique elements and ran with them.
Instead, the song rests on a shout-along chorus devoid of imagination. The guys do an admirable job with the meager material they’re given, making Hero sound big even as it sputters along. But without any sense of real melody, there’s nothing memorable to grab onto. As with so many of these generic debuts, the track passes by with sound and fury but leaves little in its wake. BLK seem to have a great deal of potential. They deserve a follow-up that showcases this in a much more original way.