Review Summary: With their debut, The Damned Things have created one of the most fun and enjoyable Hard Rock albums of the year.
There’s always a fair amount of contention and hype with the creation of every new super group. The conglomeration of different artists from separate acts usually raises questions, as it’s always uncertain as to whether or not the amalgamation of styles and influences will yield a worthy product. While there have been some rather impressive groups in the past, it’s not an easy task to forget about the glut of failed experiments that have permeated the modern music scene. However, when a super group arises that defies expectations, and creates something wholly interesting, it is something special indeed.
As stated previously, it’s a general rule of thumb that one should approach a super group with apprehension, and that sentiment fits The Damned Things perfectly, as the peculiar mashing of Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley, Anthrax’s Rob Caggiano and Scott Ian, and Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley, certainly causes one to scratch their head. Perhaps this collection of artists would not seem so strange were it not for the two black sheep hailing from the pop-rock phenomenon, Fall Out Boy. However, as is the case with the rest of the band, Trohman and Hurley fit in ideally with The Damned Things, which is made clear by the pure, unadulterated fun
radiating from the band’s debut, Ironiclast
works perfectly because of its fun factor. While that statement may raise a few eyebrows, The Damned Things have successfully tapped into the spirit and energy of the bombastic and revered Hard Rock bands of the 1970’s, creating music that can actually be considered fun
, an idea seemingly lost in this day and age. The Damned Things have deftly captured “enjoyment,” creating a convivial environment, and one, that despite its shortcomings, will leave an impression.
You see, for as cleverly written as Ironiclast
truly is, it is far from perfect. Even with all of its good intentions, the album just comes up a little short. It’s a stadium-esque, bluesy, southern rock romp in the form of ten tracks, which unfortunately does little to defy conventions. To put it bluntly, The Damned Things do little, if anything new, and often times fall into the same traps of other modern day Hard Rock bands. The songwriting can at times be a little stereotypical, as the band is want to maintain a painfully strict “verse-chorus” format, while utilizing incredibly predictable guitar riffs as well. For as quick paced and catchy as “Handbook for the Recently Deceased” and “Bad Blood” really are, they won’t be remembered for breaking new ground, while on the other hand, tracks like “Friday Night” seem to hop onto a riff-roller coaster and seemingly never get off.
is a testament to how the unbridled exuberance of a band and its members-whose jovial catharsis is nigh palpable in audible form- can essentially make a record into something more than a mere sum of its parts. After all, the album does little to stand heads and shoulders above its contemporaries. However, the brilliant cohesiveness of the band does wonders for the sound. For those familiar with Every Time I Die, Keith Buckley’s mellower, rockier tone may come as a surprise. It is telling of his abilities as a vocalist, as he is able to drastically alter his sound while maintaining the same passion and energy found on his main project. The rest of the band melds perfectly as well, with no one taking center stage. While some of the tracks are conducive to incessant riffing, the guitarists actually manage to write some damn great parts. Chock full of variety and poise, Coggiano and Trohman’s writing often times can be quite intriguing. Yet the excellence is spread throughout the rest of the band as well, with each member at one time or another really grabbing the listener’s attention with one or more great moments. Unfortunately, Buckley's renowned lyrical prowess isn't up to snuff with much of his other material, but still good in its own right. Yet with such impressive artists well versed in what it means to be in a band, The Damned Things sound like they were made to be a group, rather than a collection of artists from separate acts.
is an impressive debut from a band who really shouldn’t be as good as they actually are. That being said, The Damned Things have crafted one of the most fun, energetic, and catchy Hard Rock albums of 2010, encompassing every excellent aspect of the genre from the past thirty years. Sure, it isn’t a megaton bomb, busting down doors and ripping apart conventions, but when an album is this goddamn fun, it’s difficult to care.