The Explosion - Black Tape (Cover Artwork)

The Explosion

The Explosion: Black TapeBlack Tape (2004)
Tarantulas Records

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
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Let's see: a rising punk rock band gaining fans on a global scale releases their highly-anticipated followup on a major label, and the record ends up being a surprisingly shiny work of pop that abandons roughly every trait of its earlier sound?

Why do I suddenly have this head-pounding case of déja vu...?

The Explosion takes a decidedly poppy route with Black Tape, its Virgin debut. All but gone are the '77 nods and Oi! influences, traded in favor of a more restrained but somehow declaratory sort of-punk-pop feel, not only happier but matured in the way only major label record executives can mandate with stern looks and crossed arms. The Explosion's newest messages are painted with the most accessible strokes yet, whether it be the overdubbed chorus of "Mothers Cry" or pogo-friendly single "Here I Am," both showcasing Matt Hock's newest vocal delivery, which is a little less harsh than the Sick Of Modern Art EP. The remaining grains of sand lodged on his throat have nearly been sifted out.

It's hit or miss with the overwhelming amounts of gloss injected into the production. The more effective tracks like "Filthy Insane," a punked-out romp with jagged yells for a chorus, an adventurous pace and mere glimpses of the street punk the band once prided themselves on, or the album's comparatively darker track, "Atrocity," in Hock's simple confession, "I won't fight in any wars, and I can't stand to see much more / atrocity...," are unaffected by the collagen-like puff. But then there's tracks like "Go Blank" or the re-recorded "No Revolution" that proves restraining orders are in order for Pro Tools and his gang of song-ruining studio "magic" with multi-tracked vocal barks and glistening guitar effects usually reserved for tampon infomercials and pre-climactic Herbal Essence moments.

While containing a few enjoyable tracks, Black Tape is a sound that simply seems drained of much of the band's previous seemingly endless energy. It does sound like the next logical step for the band, but it could've been taken with alterations. No longer the homeless, stringy-haired beast roaming pothole-patched roads and lonely, dark alleyways, The Explosion seems less volatile and more benevolent, defanged of its raucous nature and domesticated for whatever family is ready to raise it.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
jamespastepunk (September 9, 2006)

Some of the songs were just too long, and if say, Go Blank was a minute and a half, it'd rule.

Anonymous (April 14, 2005)

Whomever tends to like this album just wasn't a big enough fan of the earlier explosion. Otherwards your just drawn in through its trendy, and whole feeling of production. This band hasn't reinvented themselves, they've lost themselves. Typical.

Skate hard and die fast, motherfucker.

Anonymous (April 14, 2005)

Whomever tends to like this album just wasn't a big enough fan of the earlier explosion. Otherwards your just drawn in through its trendy, and whole feeling of production. This band hasn't reinvented themselves, they've lost themselves. Typical.

Skate hard and die fast, motherfucker.

joeg (January 17, 2005)

i'm guilty of shitting on these guys when this record came out. i gave em another chance and i've decided this record is pretty good. different, but good.

Anonymous (October 27, 2004)

After coming out with an album like 'Flash, Flash, Flash', these guys should be fucking embarassed to have put their name on this crap. i was so dissapointed by this. nothing seemed to fit, the chorus' were repetitious and annoying at points, and i think the low point was the remake of 'no revolution'; don't drag a fantastic song down to the level of 'black tape', leave it with 'Flash' were it belongs. it hurts me to say these things, but this was a really bad album. that fbi warning sticker didnt help either.

In the words of doctor Zoidburg, "The music is bad and you should feel bad!"
-Matt Stokes

Anonymous (October 16, 2004)

This page is full of the simplistic indictments that sound like the kind of drivel you'd hear from angry 14 year-olds hanging out in front of a mall.

Maybe you liked The Explosion because they pissed off mom and dad, but I loved them from the start because they always knew how to write songs - something too many nouveau punk bands lost sight of long ago. Have you dorks even heard their old records? You're telling me songs like "Hero" and "Terrorist" aren't melodic?

If I wanted to listen to something that was harsh and pissed-off, I'd listen to Citizens Arrest. I like The Explosion because they're a great rock band.

But if all the kids in their punk phase stop listening to them because of some imagined "sell-out" move, that rules because I won't have to put up with their self-important bullshit at the next Explosion show.

Anonymous (October 16, 2004)

"I don't understand how your skull could be so fucking thick."

i don't understand why you care so fucking much. christ. if i feel like bitching about the lack of a review, who fucking cares?

or maybe you can assign a point value as to the comments anyone makes, according to however you feel. you know, you're adding just as much to this thread about the explosion's new record in bitching at people, than i am in demanding a review half-sarcastically.

Icapped2pac (October 15, 2004)

Let me ask you this then: What the fuck do you hope to accomplish with your comment? Do you really think somebody's gonna hurry up & do a review just because you (and maybe a few other dickheads) are nagging for it? Or do you think they forgot or something? I don't understand how your skull could be so fucking thick.

Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

"I propose that all comments that read "where is the (insert band name here) review?" be assigned a -1 value like those stupid "first" comments. It's getting to be just as aggravating, especially when some dumbfuck starts in a WEEK before the album comes out."

a week, huh? gee, that must be why i'm listening to it right now. shucks.

you're a -1 value.

Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

"This shit is tamer than my mom after her third vasectomy. "

so youre saying your mom had 6 testicles? interesting. "

Vasectomies are reversible. Interesting.

Icapped2pac (October 15, 2004)

I propose that all comments that read "where is the (insert band name here) review?" be assigned a -1 value like those stupid "first" comments. It's getting to be just as aggravating, especially when some dumbfuck starts in a WEEK before the album comes out.

Haggard (October 15, 2004)

To steal a line from that person below me:

Where the shit is the review for the new LoC album?


Anonymous (October 15, 2004)

to steal a line from that person below me:

where the shit is the review for the new Q And Not U record?

here's your first line to get you started: "wow, this is really fucking good." run with it, people.

Anonymous (October 14, 2004)

I hated it when I heard the songs on the Red Tape EP, I knew this one was going to suck dicks. I downloaded it and for one night I liked it. Now I hate it again and realize this band sucks now. They were kind of a sad band when I saw them last with AFI last spring '03. I wish they rocked like when I saw them in '02 with One Man Army and Madcap. That show ruled. One Man Army rules even now that they are broken up. Fuck Yeah.

Straight Faced was harsh!

Anonymous (October 14, 2004)

I like Big D

Anonymous (October 14, 2004)

"where in the shit is the big d review?"

cd comes out next week.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

The Explosion have never been original, but at least before their music sounded like bands I like. haha

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

where in the shit is the big d review?

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)


boba_fett (October 13, 2004)

I think the new stuff sounds like a better version of the bouncing souls.

this cannot in any way compare to the greatness that is the bouncing souls.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

yuck.. i tried to listen to this with an open mind.. but c'mon guys... this album is utter crap. the explosion are the next sugar ray!

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

NOFX weren't popular when they were a straight punk band, they got big about ten years after they'd formed. The Explosion are known for making fairly generic 77-wannabe punk, so people are let down, I guess. Better to pseudo-sell out than stay the same and make the same record over and over.

The funniest thing is that a lot of Explosion fans hate The Hives, but man, this stuff makes The Hives sound like VICTORY STYLED "TANK ENGINE" CORE.


Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

What do you people actually like? geez on every message board its the same crap about how a band sold out or "they always sucked" I'll admit even though I dont have "Black Tape" nor "Flash Flash Flash" but have heard pretty much both of the albums. I think although Black Tape is different it is also good not as street, but its still extremley catchy. No body seems to be mad at NOFX for being extremely poppy at times (not that I dont like NOFX) so why rag on The Explosion?

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

i have an h20 sweatshirt but i just can't do it anymore man i'm sorry. i just can't. "go" is def. the worst thing ever. not just music, i mean the worst thing ever. well the holocaust may beat it out, and the war in iraq ...j/k

TheOneTrueBill (October 13, 2004)

"And you can still wear The Explosion's merch - just hope that your punker-than-thou contemporaries realize you're doing it to support the older material"

Ha! I still wear my old H2O shirt even though I can't tolerate them anymore. It's so cool because it has the Epitaph logo on the back to prove how cool I am.

TheOneTrueBill (October 13, 2004)

After my first listen, I'm enjoying it. Sure, it's even more generic than the old stuff, but I have no reason to hate it. There are plenty worse bands than this, and I'm still stoked to see them on the 30th.

inagreendase (October 13, 2004)

For the record, I actually like the Suicide Machines' self-titled album, even though I may have come off as hating it. When it comes to major label debuts/major label "sell-out" albums, I'm usually about 50/50 liking them, maybe even more in support.

And you can still wear The Explosion's merch - just hope that your punker-than-thou contemporaries realize you're doing it to support the older material.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

Yeah this shit sucks. I'm glad I restrained myself from buying their merchandise when they put on a fucking AMAZING show while opening for AFI because I would be fucking embarassed to wear it now.

punkpirate (October 13, 2004)

I think the Explosion is a breath of fresh air. Yeah this isn't as good as Flash Flash Flash, but its still a good album. Their getting shat on from the "elite" for being on a major, but this is still 10 times better than most the shit that is out there right now.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

this album is good, but not nearly as good as the jade tree material. too bad.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

I actually like this album, noithing great, but i've never heard their back catalog cuz i'm a poser.

BTW suicide machines are amazing and none of their albums were sell out cd's. the s/t 'sell out' album is just what they wanted to do, and Royce had a big hand in writing it. ive talked to Jay numerous times at the 12 plus SM shows i've been too and they are very honest about that album and dont' shy away from talking abou tit. permanent holiday was a great song.

btw, at the pittsburgh SM show a few weeks ago, Jay told me their next album will be their last and so far its direction is 'angry'. it will come out summer 05.

scott's apathy and exhaustion headline thingy in AP WAS cool.

kirbypuckett (October 13, 2004)

What a dissapointment.

- Kirby

inanechild (October 13, 2004)

Not as good as I was expecting - I don't think the cleaned up vocals fit the Explosion, and the re-recording of "No Revolution" is just godawful. But it wasn't that horrible either, I actually like "Filthy Insane" and "Deliver Us."

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

nah Jessie your ok, its just trendy to hate on you lately on this site? Trendy like Hawthorne Heights or Bayside or Senses Fail or Matchbook Romance or the Matches repeat until vomiting has been induced. THIS score goes out to Explosion's "Sick of Modern Art"


Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

This score goes out to that Suicide Machines review accessed thru the above link. FACK! If I read another review as dumb as that or perhaps another Jessie review I'm going to retire from this site


Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

They put a song of thier previous full length on here. WHAT THE FUCK. Write some new songs BRAHS. Why did it take so long to write a piece of shit album. Seriously!

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

Step 1: Go back and listen to Flash Flash Flash.

There, I just saved you 12 bucks.

Anonymous (October 13, 2004)

I havent heard this album so I won't put a score up, but, i do have a few comments.

A band usually sounds more polished off and poppy on a major not because they changed their sound, but because they have more money to do what they wanted originally, and over years they also mature more as songwriters.

Secondly, to the person who said the suicide machine's haven't made a good album in years, did they not hear the last album the band put out? or do they just have their head so far up their own ass that they can't smell anything but the shit comming out of their mouth as they talk?

recordings (October 13, 2004)

"This shit is tamer than my mom after her third vasectomy. "

so youre saying your mom had 6 testicles? interesting.

as for the cd, i have not heard all of it, but i also wasnt really blown away by what ive heard. so i dunno what to say...i wont shit on them for becoming a little more *accessable* but i cant say this is better than the old stuff either.

and honestly, whats with million $ matts different vocals yet again! someone give the guy some glass shards to gargle and fuck up the cords again.

mikeinflames (October 12, 2004)

disappointing to say the least

pastepunk (October 12, 2004)

What ever happend to the band "Straight Faced"?

- They broke after numerous line-up changes, and if I'm not mistaken, someone in the band having some trouble with the law...

Mat_T (October 12, 2004)

So, I am a huge Explosion fan. I have every disc and by and large I love them. Flash Flash Flash is amazing and all the EPs are better than most stuff you hear. So, when I managed to hear Black Tape, it took its inevitable turn for the worse in my opinion in becoming an over-produced, public friendly record. So, the songs all sound very upbeat, and happy by and large - fair enough if done in the old style. I dunno - having listened to all the other songs from this band, I prefer songs like Terrorist, Safety Belt and Connipition Fit. What we have now are songs of happiness that are over-produced which seem odd coming from the previous CDs. For me the only one exception to this trend is Filthy Insane, which is obviously the reason why it was put on the Red Tape EP.

So the bottom line I guess for me is where do they go from here? I am not sure. I wish they would return to their roots and bang out short, nasty tracks that hit you like a shovel as opposed to tracks that roll on for 3 minutes and talk about mothers and crossroad dilemmas. Do I blame them? Not at all. Everyone needs to make some money to live; they need to get the masses buying and putting out the old school sounds is probably not in the best interests of The Explosion or Virgin. It is just depressing to see one of your fav bands go this way. Fuck...

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

What ever happend to the band "Straight Faced"?

pastepunk (October 12, 2004)

I think the comments on the big production are way overblown; of course, it's a matter of taste, but I don't think the sound quality here is overproduced in the sense that everything is processed and plasticky. There's plenty of pure power to go around, and Hock's vocals are far from sugary. This isn't Flash Flash Flash - get over it.

maverick (October 12, 2004)

"Its funny how Straylight Run received a 2nd standing review position over the Explosion."

Straylight Run came out today. The Explosion came out last week. Newer releases always go higher up.


Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

This shit is tamer than my mom after her third vasectomy.

-steve jones the motherfuckin bones

joeg (October 12, 2004)

suicide machines, h2o, and now the explosion. i've heard some songs off this record and while not horrible, are not the same band i know. i'm for changing your sound and progressing and not making the same record, but the intensity and raw energy is gone from this band, or this record at least. i still think they're good live.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

Sounds more like early 80's pop-rock. I heard the influence creeping in on their "Art" EP.


cdogg (October 12, 2004)

Hmm. I don't know. This is one of those albums that grows on you. It has some really good songs on it (albeit surprisingly upbeat, happy ones). One area they really screwed up, however, is the production. It's so overproduced that the resulting sound seems saturated and messy. It takes away from the songs, which would have benefited from Brian McTiernan's production like on Flash x 3. I try to adjust my stereo, but the sound always comes off as sort-of "tinny" (is that a word?) - treble filled, high pitched, etc. These songs are mostly good, and will probably sound pretty good live, but the cd production gives me an instant headache.

gladimnotemo (October 12, 2004)

Eh, at least they still have Tarantulas....

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

Its funny how Straylight Run received a 2nd standing review position over the Explosion. Straylight Run? Almost as good as Hawthorne Heights...almost


For those of you who didn't catch the sarcasm in that, I suggest you visit www.drivethrurecords.com

P.P.S I donate a score of 10 to Scott Heisel's use of "Apathy and Exhaustion" in Alternative Press. Keep it up scott, you may sway my opinion of that glossy scene definer.

P.P.S you try and take the bus for 30 hours over the span of three days and not randomly pick up Ap @ a newstand too pass the time.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

I'll give it this score at this particular point. It does have some kick ass moments: the closer Hollywood signs is amazing until the course kicks in...sigh. Filthy Insane is on the red tape ep, so I've heard the bulk of the best songs off this record. I really disagree with the Suicide Machines comparison. The Suicide Machines st disc had everything from that nu metal song to hardcore, to symphony pop. "Sometimes I don't Mind" should've made them a household name. Thats a really good pop song no matter which way you look at it. Anyways I'm of the opinion that the explosion had much more potential than the machines, based on their last two releases WHICH OWNED> the first machines disc was great, but Battle Hymns is nothing special to me.


Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

Destruction by Definition was the first Suicide Machines record on Hollywood, and it was probably the last great record they put out.

Can't comment on the Explosion disc...

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

shoulda quit after flash flash flash

theOneTrueBill (October 12, 2004)

I ordered it used from Amazon last week. Should be here soon, so I'm excited. Supposidly It's a special Digi-pack promo version.

dazed (October 12, 2004)

My hopes have been diminished already, but I may check it out anyway,

maverick (October 12, 2004)

Snoozer. Brian's right.


Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

No way this is another Suicide Machines corporate album. Why do you have to complain it doesn't sound like the old stuff? Honestly, I think the new stuff sounds like a better version of the bouncing souls. Sorry, they started trying something new. Hate to break it to you but it worked and this is a great, catchy and still punk album.

Anonymous (October 12, 2004)

I really love their 7'" on Revelation. E - X -P - L - O -S - I - O- N.

Steb (October 12, 2004)

There was no need to re-record No Revelution. Nowhere near as good as Flash Flash Flash.

adam (October 12, 2004)

I'm going to pick this up tommorrow. Based the Red Tape EP I don't mind the band's new sound (I'm addicted to the single), but I've heard it doesn't change gears much. We'll see.


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