Album Review: The Damned Things – High Crimes (Nuclear Blast)

Nine years ago, Scott Ian – guitarist and co-founder of legendary thrash metal outfit, Anthrax – took a meeting with the Joe Trohman (also a guitarist, and a co-founder, of the band Fall Out Boy). He and Scott hit it off, and started making songs together. With the help of drummer Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy) and the irreverent vocals of Keith Buckley (Every Time I Die), The Damned Things were formed.

They released their debut album, Ironiclast in December 2010 and effectively went on hiatus/split in 2012. Their back now with a new a bass player in the form of Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio on bass.

Their new album, High Crimes will be released on April 26th 2019.

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What a surprise it is to have a new The Damned Things album. I quite liked Ironiclast. It was fun and had some bangers hidden amongst it even if it was hardly game-changing. Which kind of applies to High Crimes. A good, fun album that won’t set the rock world alight but can be enjoyed by almost anyone.

Once again The Damned Things strike gold kicking off with the high energy Cells, a track with plenty of belly fire as Buckley even throws out a pretty intense roar. It’s a very The Damned Things kind of track, no bad thing as it’s bouncy and fun.

The start of Something Good might raise an eyebrow or two as we get a gang of children chanting “Y-E-LL, all of my friends are going to hell”. That same chant will return later but around this less then stellar moment, the foot tapping and finger snapping beat is memorable.

It’s Invincible next that really takes the album in a much more positive direction though. An early highlight with catchy as hell guitars and a much more nuanced vocal performance. It’s the track that lights up the gloom and will force many a listener to sing along.

Omen isn’t quite able to back that up but makes a decent go of it. The more methodical tempo proving to be ear-pleasing even if the chorus is a little bland. It’s way more chilled which turns out to be a good thing as Carry A Brick is the most hyper track so far. A more aggressive set of vocals and punk-infused energy in the verses works well against the cleaner chorus.

It’s not so easy to get excited about the mellow flips and shifts mixed in with bluesy-style rock and energetic groove that is Storm Charmer and Young Hearts. The latter at least has another quality The Damned Things chorus.

Keep Crawling might be my personal favourite track of The Damned Things. Not just on this album but from everything they’ve put out so far. Why? It’s something a little different. A bit progressive, a bit desert rock, a bit psychedelic but most of all, a riff heavy track. All while Buckley delivers a sermon-like performance with his smooth vocals.

High Crimes then wraps up with two fairly short ones. Let Me Be (Your Girl) with its fast-paced and energetic metal edge and The Fire is Cold with its darker punk vibe. The perfect finish that shows off exactly what The Damned Things can do.

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The Damned Things – High Crimes Full Track Listing:

1. Cells
2. Something Good
3. Invincible
4. Omen
5. Carry A Brick
6. Storm Charmer
7. Young Hearts
8. Keep Crawling
9. Let Me Be (Your Girl)
10. The Fire is Cold

High Crimes will be available via all major streaming services come the 26th April but can also be ordered via Nuclear Blast here.

The Damned Things - High Crimes (Nuclear Blast)
  • The Final Score - 7/10
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