Reviewed! The Damned Things - "Ironiclast"

The Damned Things
Ironiclast
Mercury

At first glance, it’s hard to imagine that the Damned Things would work in the first place. Honestly, how could a band that featured two-fifths of heavy metal veterans Anthrax, Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano, half of pioneering pop-punk outfit Fall Out Boy, Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman, and fronted by Every Time I Die’s lead throat Keith Buckley, coexist at all? It can’t, right? Upon closer inspection of the Damned Things, and their impossibly good debut Ironiclast, you’ll soon see, and hear for that matter, that everything does work, and work very well.

The pure essence of Ironiclast isn’t as complex and muddied as you’d perhaps initially expect, as a band playing host to monsters of their respective scenes, be it pop-punk, heavy metal and hard rock. The sound here is a melding of all those involved, taking bits and pieces of what each member brings, blending it all together to create something more evolved, though the overall straight ahead, no-frills, balls-out rock and roll of Ironiclast recalls a simpler time in rock, something akin to the late-70’s and early 80’s.

With a rhythm section that listed elite level shredders like Ian, Caggiano and Trohman within its rank, you expected the guitars here on Ironiclast to be good, but you didn’t expect it to be this good. But the biggest surprise of Ironiclast isn’t the six-string ferocity, no, it’s the vocal work of Keith Buckley, as he abandons his usual vocal style for something cleaner, yet stronger, spitting less barbs than in years past with ETID. His vocals lead to soaring hooks that grab hold and squeeze time and time again, and when combined with the sheer riff-tastic euphoria of the bands three-headed guitar giant and somewhat scaled back drumming of Hurley, the rock and roll onslaught is one of the better barrages you’ll hear anytime soon.

Just make sure when you hit play, you take a nice, relaxing deep breath, because when ‘Handbook for the Recently Deceased’ hits your speakers, Ironiclast is a literal thrill-ride, a rollercoaster that never lets up until its ten tracks run their course, a ride that offers nothing resembling a lull. ‘Friday Night (Going Down in Flames)’, ‘We’ve Got a Situation Here’ and ‘Little Darling’ are three noteworthy highlights, though mentioning just a trio of tracks kind of slights the rest of Ironiclast because, if fact, each song is worth mentioning and each song is very deserving of your attention, plain and simple.

Ironiclast is proof that the Damned Things aren’t worried about current labels and trends. This is just five dudes making rock music for rock music’s sake, having a boatload of fun doing so. If the band is capable of replicating the good times on Ironiclast in the future, the Damned Things might be more a day job than a side project.

Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Graverobber’

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