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Supergroup band succeeds

December 15, 2010

by Robert Wilson, Entertainment Editor

Considering the diverse track records, combining members of metal legends Anthrax, disbanded pop-masters Fall Out Boy and metalcore group Every Time I Die may seem like a better idea on paper than in the studio. However, with the release of “Ironiclast” Dec. 14, The Damned Things show that supergroups can still work. 

While the thought of dismissing the band at the combination of its members is tempting, it is worth noting ex-Fall Out Boy members Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley were both part of more hardcore outfits before finding fame in pop-rock. Also, Anthrax’s Scott Ian has proven himself able to adapt to the style of others after playing alongside Biohazard’s Evan Seinfeld and classic rock’s Ted Nugent in Damnocracy during the VH1 series “Supergroup.”

The album opens well with “Handbook for the Recently Deceased,” a galloping track that serves as a great example of what the band has to offer: pounding drums, winding lead guitar, attention-grabbing choruses and ominous riffs. The elements that have made the members’ other projects popular can be heard from the start, something that is repeated for better or worse for the remainder of the album. 

Considering the various backgrounds of the members, the album is certainly as balanced as it can be, at times to great examples such as “Handbook,” “Bad Blood” and “A Great Reckoning,” the latter featuring a tasteful combination of blues and rock riffing while vocalist Keith Buckley carries the song with a heartfelt sentiment. 

A couple of songs, “Friday Night (Going Down in Flames)” and “Little Darling,” take a kind of Buckcherry route: hard rock made to drive aimlessly around town in the middle of the night alone or to kick up the tempo of a random weekend party. 

The album does feel a little uneven at times, however. Songs such as “Handbook” and “Blues Havin’ the Blues” fall into very similar rhythms and sounds, causing the album to occasionally be tainted with a shadow of repetition. 

While it is true all bands possess a certain sound throughout their material, I hoped for a bit more variety from this assemblage of such talented musicians. 

Little things from the screamed bridge of “We’ve Got a Situation Here” to the vague feeling of an attempt at metalizing Trohman and Hurley’s previous group on “Black Heart” seem to exist more as ways to attract ETID or FOB fans than creating a sum of parts.

This is not to discredit the entire album as a whole, though. By all means, it’s a solid work only capable with years of experience and a willingness to give and take. 

It seems fair to assume The Damned Things are still trying to find their footing. I’m looking forward to see what will come once they get settled and come into their own not as a supergroup, but as a true band. 

E-mail comments to rww015@latech.edu.

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