The Damned Things - High Crimes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Damned Things

High Crimes (2019)

Nuclear Blast

Whether or not you like the term, it’s hard to argue a band featuring members of Every Time I Die, Fall Out Boy and Anthrax is anything but a supergroup. It was a treat in 2010 when The Damned Things released their debut Ironiclast. Nine years later, it’s almost unbelievable they’ve reformed, now with bass from Alkaline Trio. The new album High Crimes is a full out explosion of heavy rock and roll.

High Crimes filters each member’s skill set through a hard rock base. Keith Buckley still wreaks of confidence singing, “I’m a goddamn coward and you knew it all along,” with the same moxie as, “You’re in over your head, I’m invincible!” He gets more actual singing time, happily showing off the full range of his vocals. But his signature lyrics are still plenty there, “I’ve been broken, I’ve been shamed, but I keep crawling in back, you keep calling it faith.” The same can be said for Anthrax’s Scott Ian who’s comfortable within his wheel house, albeit for a lighter affair.

But Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley are the two who really sound like they’re enjoying themselves. Fall Out Boy’s last few albums have relied so heavily on electronics, Trohman and Hurley often got lost in the mix. Well not on High Crimes. Hurley destroys his drums, sounding like he’s needed this release for quite some time. But still, this originated as Trohman and Ian’s project, and they take full advantage. Every second is an opportunity for a lick or solo. They dip their toes into various genres: sludge, thrash, punk. High Crimes features “Storm Chaser,” the group's longest, most wandering song but also closes with “The Fire is Cold,” a 2-minute ripper, their most succinct. On “Invincible,” they attempt ‘80s pop metal without it ever feeling cheesy.

High Crimes is like a great action movie. It’s fun and enjoyable. It's exciting, even if nothing new is being done. Let the main gigs worry about legacy while The Damned Things exist as a fun outlet for its members. High Crimes is ten songs of aggressive hard rock oozing with melody, and it’s a total blast.