Coming off almost a decade between their first record Ironiclast and their sophomore record High Crimes via Nuclear Blast Records, The Damned Things haven’t skipped a beat. Chalk it up to muscle memory for effortless sounding rock n’ roll, the star-studded band make their modest rounds on High Crimes with ease, gritty guitar and self-proclaimed “catchy [and] dirty” rock n’ roll. To critique such legends as Scott Ian, Joe Trohman, Andy Hurley, Dan Andriano and Keith Buckley is not only intimidating, but almost surreal when their output is nothing short of a quintessential must-have in any broad collection of good ol’ fashioned rock music.
Kicking off High Crimes are the band’s two singles “Cells” and “Something Good” bringing in elements of twangy guitar matched with Buckley’s fluid vocals and greasy lyrics you’d imagine were written in a western saloon. In an interview, Trohman noted how he and Buckley “commiserate with each other” about being imperfect and broken, but try their best to do right for their families; a main point of consensus on the record. With omniscience peaking through in lyrics like, “you’re gonna take my life and when you do, I’ll follow you” and “you fell in love with the lie, you drag the body home”, the grime and rust of rock n’ roll’s underbelly shines through on the record thanks to the guitar instrumentation. Mixing these elements together, High Crimes was worth the wait.
Whether it’s Ian or Trohman who encapsulated the essence of rock in tracks like “Omen”, “Storm Chaser” and “Young Hearts”, it’s the collective who have entered the group mind of their influences like Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and Motorhead on High Crimes. It’s hard to imagine the band texted, emailed and sent each other their own parts of production back and forth before coming together to record in their spare time. Where Ironiclast missed the mark, High Crimes has picked up the slack ten-fold. A more confident, polished record, High Crimes flows together as if the group recorded everything in one fell swoop. An ode to the enormous amount of energy each member brings to tracks like “Keep Crawling” and “The Fire is Cold” showcase how much talent is embedded in The Damned Things. Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy once said “rock is the nucleus” and if that is so, then The Damned Things have their finger on the pulse of true rock n’ roll.