I Am The Avalanche - DIVE (Cover Artwork)

I Am The Avalanche

DIVE (2020)

I Surrender Records

I Am The Avalanche are one of the best and most consistent American punk bands out there for a punk’s money. Their relentless touring schedule around their first two releases and consistent output that until now had been on pause since 2014’s Wolverines has made them somewhat of a scene observer’s secret - widely regarded amongst their diehard fans and able to sustain the bar with riotous sing alongs at any dive they choose to play. If any year needed to be graced with a new I Am The Avalanche record, it was 2020. At their best, I Am The Avalanche is a party of friends with all the highs and lows that comes with it.

With their new record DIVE, I Am The Avalanche have brought that party back when most needed. Longtime followers will note the influence of guitarist Mike Ireland’s songwriting chops back in the mix. Singer Vinnie Caruana has defined I Am The Avalanche in recent interviews as what happens when he and Ireland get together for a couple beers and writing sessions. Having briefly left the band during the Wolverines sessions along with bassist Kellen Robson post-release, their sound moderated a bit. Still rounded out by guitarist Brandon Swanson and drummer and producer Brett “The Ratt” Romnes, DIVE finds the original five piece at their most cohesive. It’s clear DIVE benefits from all players together again and has an energy to it not found on Wolverines.

I Am The Avalanche have always been a product of weed, hardcore influences, and a genre wide knowledge of all forms of punk rock. DIVE returns elements found on their self-titled debut and Avalanche United to the fold. Songs like “Fake Weed,” “Love Song 69,” and closer “The Morning” break up the fast paced punk rock and will appeal to fans of their slower and more dynamic output in songs like “Always” or “Clean Up.” Single “Better Days” and “Earthquake Weather” showcase the band’s anthemic side with Caruana’s trademark growl boosted with on point gang vocals. The band still knows how to spin off in a ripper when warranted. “Dive” throws in a Descendents style tempo change that ends in towered vocals highlighting Caruana's say it like you mean it lyrical style amid huge breakdowns.

As always, the lyrics remain a huge attraction with DIVE. Whether it’s Caruana exercising his demons delivering lines like, “Then you married a cop / A thief and an asshole / Everyday’s a battle,” on "Fake Weed" or celebrating friendship with references to the band’s support slot on one of No Use For A Name’s final tours with “Tokoyo,” anybody who’s loved, lost, and loved again will find solace in the good times and bad here. It’s almost too much when Caruana shouts, “We suffer together / No one’s alone” on the title track.

DIVE is not just a welcome addition to I Am The Avalanche’s catalog, but perhaps on par - if not dislodging - their first two records as their best record. It is refreshing anytime a band can put out an album as impactful as DIVE over 15 years into their career, but the best days for I Am The Avalanche, and all of us, are still ahead of us no matter how much we’ve suffered together even if we spent this year mostly alone.