Artist: The Damned Things
Release: High Crimes
Area: New York
Date of release: 21st February 2019
Genre: Heavy Rock
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
For Fans Of: Every Time I Die, Maylene and the Sons of DIsaster, George Thorogood
“I know the devil, I have god as my witness
Come raise the dead, 'cause I’m not willing to miss this
No, you stay right here, I’ll go, I’ll go”
The Damned Things are back and they have my full undivided attention with their latest track ‘Cells’. Honestly, I never knew they left and had no idea that such a supergroup existed and would be coming back at any point, but here we are and I’m all aboard.
Right from the get go, the band draws you in with an energetic build up that kicks the song straight into a high gear without ever really letting their foot off the gas pedal. Keith Buckley’s (Every Time I Die) vocal swell being backed up by some frenetic drum work and chunky guitar tones from Fall Out Boy’s Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman was the perfect way to kick this off, before transitioning smoothly into a standard verse > chorus > verse > chorus > solo > chorus. While a song structure such as this is an old tried and tested formula, The Damned Things nail it with a simplistic but wholly enjoyable and cohesive piece of music. Whether sections are being broken up by ‘diddly’ little guitar breaks or Keith dropping a cheeky ‘Guitar!’ vocal line before the righteous solo, the band keeps it simple and does so better than a majority of groups that are trying to achieve the same thing with their music. Less is more, and these guys exemplify that.
After browsing through The Damned Things song catalogue from their initial release in 2010, Ironiclast, ‘Cells’ would have been a perfect suit to feature on that debut album. It’d slot seamlessly alongside tracks like ‘We’ve Got A Situation Here’ and ‘Graverobber’, of which the former had a hilarious music video attached to the band’s first single release. This group, despite being ridiculously talented, seem as though they haven’t lost their sense of humour or ability to not take themselves too seriously, as the music video for ‘Cells’ is almost, just almost, as funny as their previous efforts. What can I say? I’m a sucker for musicians that shoot laser beams out of their instruments and use it for promotional purposes, sue me if you disagree.
For me, Keith is the standout on this track, both vocally and lyrically, which should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. The man has real grit behind his voice as he consistently flexes his clean vocals whilst spitting verbal garbage in the form of lyrics that are both chaotic and cohesive at the same time. Scott Ian of Anthrax and Alkaline Trio’s Dan Andriano round out this five piece and rhythmically tie together this entire composition, resulting in a track that had me raising my eyebrows and tapping my toes in approval from the first listen.
As previously stated, I hadn’t heard of The Damned Things prior to this, but ‘Cells’ has left a lasting first impression on me and I’m very keen to see what comes of their next album 'High Crimes', out April 26th through Nuclear Blast Records.
Would You Go And See Them (WYGAST) 4/5
Personal Enjoyment: 10/10