ARTIST: THE DAMNED THINGS
TITLE: HIGH CRIMES
LABEL: NUCLEAR BLAST
WORDS: JO COSGROVE
A supergroup is usually used in music as a means to get out there and explore a corner of the industry one has an interest in, but can’t work around with their original outfit. It’s a common practice and has led to great successes, but unfortunately many of them never tend to stand the test of time. A handful of years and then everyone is back to their separate projects. However, after almost ten years since their first performances together, there’s been a reunion among the members of rock supergroup The Damned Things. Formed by Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley, Anthrax’s Scott Ian, Fall Out Boy duo Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley, and bringing in Alkaline Trio’s own Dan Adriano to revive the bass position in the band. Ian teased new music in 2018, telling the world that “there is possibly a record” on its way – and here it is in all its collaborative glory.
‘High Crimes’ is the result of a persevering passion for creating art that brings the best from every corner of the rock world, which every member contributes to, and brings the excitement from fans who got addicted to the sound in the early 2010s. But does the new album hold up?
“Bringing a taste of the past and their influences”
The album opens with the lead single, ‘Cells’, and this is where the band left off from their last release: 2010’s ‘Ironiclast’. Bringing a taste of the past and their influences straightaway, it’s a unique sound that they had down almost to a T. ‘Cells’ was considered the official comeback, being the first single and the first track off the new release; the highlight of this being the vocal range demonstrated by lead vocalist Buckley throughout the track. A great comeback – not spectacular, but all is forgiven on that front.
Following straight after is the second single, the so slightly different track ‘Something Good’. Switching things up from lead track ‘Cells’, ‘Something Good’ has a different beat and a different attitude to it. Knocking things up and bringing themselves back into 2019, The Damned Things show the kids challenging rock nowadays just how to bring the energy in mere minutes. A must-listen on the record, and one which will send listeners back to the 2000s underground scenes with its catchy sound and crowd-pleasing chanting.
The second half of the album brings out what the band has been hiding away all this time; where the hard work really shines and shows the true genius behind these works. The track ‘Young Hearts’ appears to have this secret aim of bringing together fans of classic rock, and those of newer reinventions of the style. Using and playing with the influence of older and newer acts, this was perhaps just the outcome of coming up with new music – a happy accident, one may label it – but it works in such an unexpected way.
“Nothing spectacular, nor life-changing; just simply a great end to a great record”
As the album winds to an end with ‘The Fire is Cold’, the expectation to go out memorably arises. Even with diehard fans, there are hopes that the record closes respectfully at the very least. From the tunes that came before it, there are no low hopes; yet nor are there high ones. It is expected that things will end the way they should (how it should be is discovered and felt throughout the duration of the record), and with ‘The Fire is Cold’, the ending is just as strong as the beginning. Nothing spectacular, nor life-changing; just simply a great end to a great record. If that was their simple goal, it was achieved and it should be appreciated.
Overall, this union of a small collective of rock’s somewhat recent stars was a fascinating attempt at sparking up the hype behind the band again. While it’s not the ultimate standout of the year, props and praise should be granted to every member for getting together what could have been hidden in the past and bringing it into the here and now, the forefront, once again. Putting the work into it together is still a different experience for everyone involved, so it shall never be downplayed. The journey never ends. Especially for The Damned Things.