Featuring members of Anthrax, Every Time I Die and Fall Out Boy, The Damned Things are heavy metal’s latest supergroup.
At first glance, this seems like a rather disparate mix, the inclusion of members from pop-punk act Fall Out Boy naturally leading many metal fans to be sceptical when the news of the bands inception first broke. How can they be a supergroup with members of THAT band? Is this entirely motivated by money? How is it going to work?
So, what does Ironiclast, the group’s début album, sound like? It’s certainly not Fall Out Boy, which isn’t entirely surprising when you consider that neither Joe Trohman (guitar) or Andy Hurley (drums) wrote any of their material. The style of music on the album is heavily influenced by Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Down, while still retaining some of the thrash you would expect from the duo of Anthrax guitarists Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano. Add to that the catchy vocals of Every Time I Die‘s Keith Buckley, who demonstrates a distinctive singing voice rarely exhibited for his other band, creates a sound that is heavy, blues orientated and loaded with big riffs and hooks, and incorporating sounds from stoner rock, bringing to mind bands such as Skid Row, Kyuss, and Down. The sound is perfectly suited to an evening with some good mates and a few beers.
The album boasts a number of great tracks, but particular highlights are the anthemic tracks ‘We’ve Got a Situation Here’ and ‘Friday Night (Going Down In Flames)’, as well as the closer ‘The Blues Havin’ Blues’. The later bringing out the most of the Thin Lizzy influence. Unfortunately, like many albums Ironiclast has its weak points. A few of the tracks smack of filler content, such as the title track, which despite containing the most aggressive vocals on the album lacks any real punch and musically doesn’t quite come together.
As an album, Ironiclast delivers a modern take on classic heavy metal while not smashing any significant boundaries. Ironiclast is catchy and will have you singing along and will remain stuck in your head long after the first listen.
So what can we expect from The Damned Things in the future? It is the nature of supergroups to be short-lived, and with all the group’s members still involved with their own bands, one would imagine they will disappear before long. Despite these difficulties, it appears that the group are serious about being a “band”, with a 26-date US tour in the new year and everything coming out of the band screaming positivity at what they have created. I leave you with this quote from Scott Ian: “We have basically cooked the best dinner ever, the best we’ve ever had and it would be really stupid not to eat it”.
Good: Hook laden heavy metal with big riffs that will be stuck in your head for days. Bad: One or two too many filler tracks, lacking any serious clout. 7/10