Supergroup loses two super members, how does their new album sound?

By: Timothy Coffman, Columnist
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The Damned Things is a supergroup composed of band members from famous punk and metal acts. Comprised of members of Anthrax, Every Time I Die, and Fall Out Boy, this act is a brilliant melding of those bands’ classic styles. Their last album Ironiclast was a pleasant outing when it was released in 2010, but how does this album stack after the band has reunited?

From the opening track “Cells,” you know that you’re in for a high-energy great time. When the group reassembled, they lost members Rob Caggiano and Josh Newton. But they came back with a vengeance by hiring Alkaline Trio bassist Dan Andriano to fill out the sound. His bass tone is the glue that really makes this album jump out at you. But the star of the show is vocalist Keith Buckley, who can go from a heavy growl to a vocal belt at a moment’s notice. What most impressed me about this band is the contributions from Fall Out Boy members Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman. Even though I enjoy some Fall Out Boy, I was concerned about how their pop-centric direction would impact this album’s momentum. My apprehension quickly faded with each track as Trohman rips leads with Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and drummer Hurley switching from heavy metal thunder to a feel that has more of a swing to it.

The album is not without its drawbacks though. The loss of Caggiano on guitar does show in places. The solos on these tracks suit the songs well, but it leaves you to wonder what the songs could have been if Caggiano had been at the helm. Also, the songwriting on this album is great but it isn’t as to-the-point as on their previous outing.

Even those critiques feel like nitpicks though. This album’s style is more suited to the band’s metal-boogie aesthetic. The only way I could describe it is that this is a metal band that borrows a lot of the tendencies from bands like Guns N’ Roses. There are definite whiffs of the metal bands of old, but this band has that certain bluesy street punk swagger that Guns N’ Roses possessed in their greatest incarnations. Since Guns N’ Roses burned out in the mid-90s, so many bands have been trying to capture that same attitude, and many of them don’t succeed. So when bands like this do this hard rock swagger right, it is a sight to behold and amazing to listen to.

Overall, this album is stellar, but if you’re not into a hard rocking style, it might not necessarily be your thing. This is an album for a niche market and is not necessarily for everyone. But for what it is, this album does this style extremely well. Definitely pick it up if you’re even mildly curious about some heavier rock.


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