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Off with Their Heads - In Desolation (Cover Artwork)

Off with Their Heads

Off with Their Heads: In DesolationIn Desolation (2010)
Epitaph Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: mikexdudemikexdude
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Following Off with Their Heads' switch to the ostensibly flippy-haired roster of latter-day Epitaph, I can safely say that nothing has really changed (besides a member or two): The Minneapolis-bred punks are still playing modest shows and most importantly, they're still writing gravelly anthems of s.
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Following Off with Their Heads' switch to the ostensibly flippy-haired roster of latter-day Epitaph, I can safely say that nothing has really changed (besides a member or two): The Minneapolis-bred punks are still playing modest shows and most importantly, they're still writing gravelly anthems of self-loathing.

The only thing that Epitaph could have potentially brought to the table (which is still a matter of assumption) is the recording quality. It's really not entirely different--just a bit higher in quality. The mix has the bass at a pretty audible level (hearing, rather than "feeling" the bass), mimicking the feel of the band's previous full-length From the Bottom. The quality difference really accentuates the energy; when the sudden verse of "Their Own Medicine" begins, you can tell there's a particular oomph to it.

The power chord-driven jams, surprisingly, have a lot more variety than anticipated. "Spare Time" has riffs that reminisce in '80s hardcore; the quavering curveball "My Episodes" has quiet chord accents on piano; there's even a double-stoppin', rockin' solo in "Their Own Medicine." The most powerful track, "Clear the Air" finds the band mastering their own dynamics, which closes the album perfectly.

Off with Their Heads has always succeeded in forgetting verbosity, and embracing zero-bullshit, poignant lyricism. There's little need for poetic devices when a line like "I look in the mirror and I see the face of a failure who will never be significant" does the job a million times better. However, in the complete opposite of Off with Their Heads' fashion, "My Episodes" offers a shed of hope from Ryan Young. His lyrical approach translates well to such a revealing sentiment ("I'm just happy right now that your arms are around me").

Everything seems like a perfect followup, but unfortunately, there are a too many moments that obviously parallel From the Bottom ("Old Man" vs. "Go On and Git Now," "I Just Want You to Know" vs. "Fuck This I'm Out," etc.). Thankfully, they come off as "part II" rather than careless recycling, but In Desolation literally just falls short from the complete greatness of their earlier material. It's simply because too many songs wallow in their own formula; it's clear that when they step out of their comfort zone, they're onto something really special. "The Eyes of Death," "My Episodes" and "Clear the Air" are the best songs they've written, and I'd really love to hear what other things they can do.

Let's just say this is still a band I'd stage dive and fuck my neck up to. Whatever; it was totally worth it.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Dear Landlord - Dream HomesThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Dillinger Four - C I V I L W A RThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimOff With Their Heads - From The BottomThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangAgainst Me! - White Crosses

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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.
ntek9 (October 2, 2012)

great record. took me a couple listens before it grew on me, but now i rock it constantly.

Billymitchell (August 19, 2010)

I agree with Bellson. The bonus song on itunes is kinda dumb, but it is a kick ass song.

Billymitchell (August 19, 2010)

I don't know about this review. I mean, it sounds like the reviewer is totally into it until the last paragraph. I mean, I don't mean to criticize your opinion, I'm just saying I didn't see that rating coming. Personally, I love this album and this band and everything this band puts out is golden. It's definitely tied with Tiger Jaws/Balance and Composure's Split for my Favorite Album of the Year. I highly suggest it.

BluthCo (July 19, 2010)

I liked this one just a little more than "From The Bottom" (which I would also give a 4/5).

withoutbellson (July 15, 2010)

real good but not their best. i hate it when labels put bonus songs on itunes not CD versions though.

Sliced-T (July 5, 2010)

If you've never heard OWTHs, this is a good album. If you've already got Hospitals or From the Bottom then you're not missing much if you skip this one over. It's good, but it's just more of the same.

Sliced-T (July 5, 2010)

If you've never heard OWTHs, this is a good album. If you've already got Hospitals or From the Bottom then you're not missing much if you skip this one over. It's good, but it's just more of the same.

Indecay (July 5, 2010)

Pretty good, but not great. I got it about a month ago and really liked it but it's already wearing out a bit.

damo (July 4, 2010)

can't get into this. i liked some of their older stuff but can't get into this at all

ah well

burntorangepeel (July 4, 2010)

>My album of the year so far along with Sage Francis.

The Sage album was perfect, album of the year.

Blackjaw_ (July 3, 2010)

I heard a song or two on the stream. Had a nice time.

mychoice (July 3, 2010)

Stagedives fucking rule. People that stagedive feet first with the intent to head walk are assholes.

dancinshoes (July 3, 2010)

My album of the year so far along with Sage Francis.

Simply awesome!

chipsahoycookie (July 3, 2010)

i like this album a lot.

mikexdude (July 3, 2010)

12xu,

Just like everything else in the world, some people do it for the right reasons and some people don't; for some, it enhances the energy of the music, and to others, they're just trying to hurt people. Even when I'm not stage diving, if I see Strike Anywhere and people are going crazy for the music, it's magical.

12xu (July 3, 2010)

Love this one, but it didn't immediately blow me away like FTB.

I've always felt that bodysurfers are selfish assholes who care more about being seen than experiencing the music. Is this not true?

spoon_of_grimbo (July 3, 2010)

amazing album, not a duff track to be found. and "clear the air" is some heavy shit. don't listen to it if you're feeling shitty, you WILL regret it.

anyone know what's going on with the line-up? the liner notes list nate (i'm assuming nate from banner pilot?) as part of the line-up, but apparently live theyre playing with a new drummer, with the old one now on second guitar and ryan doing just vocals... wtf?

punker001 (July 3, 2010)

I Really love this band and loved From The Bottom but I just can't get into this yet. I've put it on at least 6 times and just get bored and put Flatliners on instead. Hopefully it'll grow on me.

mikexdude (July 3, 2010)

Hey, Pope:

STAGEDIVES MAKE ME FEEL MORE ALIVE.

Make_Way (July 3, 2010)

Let's just say this is still a band I'd stage dive and fuck my neck up to. Whatever; it was totally worth it.

I was there for that. He brought it pretty hard for that set.

Anyway, this album was good upon first listen, and keeps getting better with each subsequent listen. I really love this band, so maybe it's just 'cause I'm so pumped to have new material of theirs to listen to. However, I think it will be a keeper a few years down the line.

detachedretina (July 2, 2010)

Before I read the comments, I thought "fuck my neck up to" was a way of saying that you fucked really hard while listening to this band. I must be horny.

francenemva (July 2, 2010)

cool

ashtraymonument (July 2, 2010)

didn't like it as much as from the bottom, but i loved the new version of "i may be a lot of shitty things..."

petecities (July 2, 2010)

obviously a solid release but ever since i caught these guys in allston with dear landlord i've thought that "clear the air" is pretty corny. the lyrics remind me of that ICP jam "miracles". just saying.

jacknife737 (July 2, 2010)

Their best work so far.

And the production change was for the better.

ianissuperrad (July 2, 2010)

This and RVIVR are currently battling for my album of the year.

Thepopeofchili-town (July 2, 2010)

* Stagedivers. Even worse.

Thepopeofchili-town (July 2, 2010)

Pretty accurate review. I like this record a lot. I like it more than From The Bottom at the moment, but that might just be because I wore FTB out over the last 2 years.

PS. Crowdsurfers get what they deserve.

oldpunkerforever (July 2, 2010)

LOVE IT, brilliant , cant stop playing this-oldpunker-

exitenglish1208 (July 2, 2010)

clear the air is great

ebolarama (July 2, 2010)

Interesting. i stage dived and fucked up my back to these guys. Agreed that it's no From The Bottom, but still great stuff.

kitchenman (July 2, 2010)

Thank god Mr Brett recollected himselft, to put out records like this

Bob_Ice (July 2, 2010)

Three stars. The most consistent release I've heard but doesn't blow me away. The last track is pretty awesome though.

Holy_hack_Ben (July 2, 2010)

I'm really digging this album. But is it just me or does the lady on the cover remind anyone else of Sebastian Bach?

Culturerevolution (July 2, 2010)

In Desolation is absolutley amazing. I personally think it is much better than From The Bottom. Definitley second behind Hospitals for there best record. So glad this band picked it up and made a really amazing record again that really stuck out.

kidgotham (July 2, 2010)

This record is fantastic. Personally, I liked the bass in previous albums more. I loved the feel that it game Hospitals and From The Bottom. This time it just seemed to be just another instrument instead of the driving force behind the songs.

Either way, this is one of the best punk rock records to come out this year.

skankbook (July 2, 2010)

"I Just Want You to Know" was originally on their split with the Measure (sa), which came out years before "From the Botttom," kind of weird they rerecorded it now.

I usually don't care about production value, but it definitely helps this album. You can actually make out what Ryan is saying w/out the guide of a lyric sheet. The A side & B side are like 2 different EPs, with the first few tracks being the most honest, depricating lyrics since "Die Today," and the latter half exploring (gasp!) real loving emotions. They still pull it off wonderfully.

Diidn't think they could top their previous releases, but they have. Keep up the good work, guys.

Rastid (July 2, 2010)

OWTH is one of my favourite recorded bands, but for some reason i wasn't all that excited about this record. MY BAD. they showed me up again. fucking amazing. will definitely make my top 10.

MN_DrNick (July 2, 2010)

I find it better than From The Bottom (let the shit storm begin), but From The Bottom is still my favorite from them.

conebone69 (July 2, 2010)

Meh..nothing special about this album or these guys in general

However, I did like the closing track

faithisforfools (July 2, 2010)

Yeah, this thing was a fucking grower. I'm loving it now...
"Drive" is probably my favorite songs they've ever written.

GlassPipeMurder (July 2, 2010)

love this record. the hook on Trying to Breathe is incredible.

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