Recipe for the perfect rock group: take 2 parts Fall Out Boy, add one part Anthrax, one part Alkaline Trio and a generous helping of Every Time I Die. Mix well in a studio until combined and then unleash the beast upon the world! “Fall Out Boy? Anthrax? Every Time I Die?” I hear you say, potentially with disgust. But the answer is a resounding, “Oh hell yeah!”
Separately, the sum of The Damned Things’ parts have been extremely successful in the realms of pop, punk and metal and this melting pot of genres has bred a band so insanely good they put the super in supergroup. Honestly, I could go on forever about how great these guys are but that’s not what we’re here for.
I have had the absolute privilege of being one of the first to hear The Damned Things long-awaited sophomore effort High Crimes and what I have been witness to is nothing short of amazing. Please let me tell you about this album, it’s very important you hear this…
Lead single Cells opens the album with a hailstorm of guitars and drum fills before crashing neatly into a groovy verse that weaves and bends magnificently with the help of vocalist Keith Buckley’s brilliant melodies. Newest member, bassist Dan Adriano of Alkaline Trio, expertly underlines the chorus with his frantic fretwork and insane ability to write the catchiest of riffs that’ll stick with you long after the song has ended,
The album’s second single, Something Good, follows with a clap along chant of “Y-E-L-L, all of my friends are goin’ to hell” which you’ll be singing in your head (or out loud) for the foreseeable future. The song has a very blues-y feel thanks mostly to the dual guitar work of founding members Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman and Anthrax axeman extraordinaire Scott Ian. It’s a vibe which honestly seems to permeate throughout the whole album albeit slightly on tracks such as Carry A Brick, one of High Crimes’ heaviest offerings which once again sees Buckley showing off his incomparable pipes.
Storm Charmer’s off-key organ intro brings in one of the album’s standout tracks with a guitar-driven verse that sounds like it was written for a Marilyn Manson album. And that is just the beauty of the album right there; it’s familiar yet engaging, it’s as catchy as the common cold but won’t leave you feeling as low and as beaten as the horrid infection. In fact, the whole experience somehow has quite an uplifting feeling considering some of the lyrical content that seemingly deals primarily with heartbreak and loss (see the track Invincible).
This could also be thanks to the classic rock influence that is ever so apparent on the jump-around-the-room-air-guitaring-your-heart-out Young Hearts and its follow on track, Keep Crawling. The songwriting on show here is second to none and seems to get better with each song that passes. Seriously, these guys know how to write a damn good song and within seconds you’ll be toe-tappin’ along to the solid rhythms and soaring melodies on display.
High Crimes finishes as strongly as it began with closing track The Fire Is Cold that sounds like it was pulled straight from an Every Time I Die session. It’s a blistering song with an epic chorus that will leave you gob smacked and wanting more. But hey, that’s what the repeat button is for and I dare you to not hit repeat at least once after listening to this album. Let’s juts hope these guys are far from done doing what they came here to do.
The Damned Things - High Crimes is out April 26, 2019 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment
THE DAMNED THINGS - Cells (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)