Down By Law - Champions at Heart (Cover Artwork)

Down By Law

Champions at Heart (2012)

DC-Jam Records

Listening to Champions at Heart is just a reminder that '90s punk still has something in the tank to prove to this decade. The finer qualities of simple yet intricate guitar riffs and the driving melodies will make you sing along while you're tinkling your pants. Dave Smalley's vocals are still spot on and bring you back to the Dag Nasty days with songs like "New Song" and "Face Forward."

Most of all, though, Champions at Heart doesn't drag you along with 16 tracks of the same old recipe of what they think is "punk." Instead, they have mixed it up and spiced their way through with fast barn burners like "Nothing" and "Crystals." Then they have the old man East Coast ballads in "Knock this Town" and "Warriors United." Also to break it all up guitar player Sam Williams sings "Tiny Answers" and "Perpetual Sorrow," which gives the album a nice breath of fresh air.

Overall, very solid album from these seasoned veterans of the scene and definitely worth a listen.