I’d love to travel back in time and run into a much slimmer and naïve high school version of myself and let him know that we screwed the pooch and elected an asshole as president (worse than Bush) and that a member of Anthrax would collaborate with some of the dudes in Fall Out Boy. Then I’d leave him alone because all of that would likely give him some sort of brain aneurysm. But hey it’s 2019 and here’s The Damned Things‘ sophomore effort, High Crimes (Nuclear Blast).
And here’s the take: it’s a perfectly competent rock record. High Crimes sounding so safe for a lack of a better term isn’t a knock on the band – which also features Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die – as this is miles better than whatever Halestorm or any of those hacks in traditional rock radio are assembling. I guess I came in with expectations seeing names like Anthrax, Every Time I Die and a title like High Crimes on display my brain was running in new and novel directions.
My own bullshit aside, jams like ‘Something Good’ and ‘Invincible’ get the blood going with the former’s liberal use of cowbell and the latter driving home a catchy chorus to beat the band. ‘Omen’ has a rather healthy dose of low-end gurgle and spices things up with some Thin Lizzy inspired lead guitar work in its tail end.
But you can’t quite shake the fact that High Crimes was originally itched as an EP as in the second half we lose riff quality and depend too much on repeating choruses/hooks. I appreciate the quick double-bass glimpse on ‘The Fire is Cold’ but do we need that many choruses in a two-minute song?
So, to 2005 Hans I would like to remind that yes, we’re living in a world in which Thrash and Emo musicians will successfully collaborate. Also, we now have weed pens and Playstation is still awesome for whatever that’s worth.
6 / 10