The Bronx - The Bronx (2008) (Cover Artwork)

The Bronx

The Bronx (2008) (2008)

White Drugs

It's difficult to categorize a band like the Bronx. They've got the throat-curling screams, bombastic rhythm section and chugging guitars of a hardcore band, but it isn't that simple. Hardcore bands can't write songs like this. Matt Caughthran's scream is as melodic as it is assaulting. The rhythm section of drummer Jorma Vik and bassist Brad Magers proves that a straight line isn't always the best way to get from point A to point B. And finally, the chops of guitarists Joby Ford and Ken Horne show up more in their songwriting then in solos or breakdowns.

But what can be said about the Bronx that hasn't been said before? The L.A.-based band has consistently lived up to expectations and managed to put together a unique sound that has allowed them to tour with bands as diverse as yhe Hives, Lifetime, Thursday, Circle Jerks, Mastadon and the Riverboat Gamblers while fitting in, no matter what the bill is.

Armed with a new bass player (Brad Magers) and a second guitarist (Ken Horne), the Bronx continue a logical progression of albums past with swelling, groove-filled garage punk on The Bronx (III). Only this time, they've been listening to Appetite for Destruction. Think Black Flag meets Agent Orange meets Refused meets Hot Snakes meets Queens of the Stone Age meets Guns N' Roses. Yeah, I hate reviews that describe music that way, too.

On opener "Knifeman," Caughthran screams (bellows? sings?) "We used to be gifted and persistent / but now we're bored, reminiscent / we used to laugh at our misery, spoon-fed our desire / We've lost our fire." I don't believe it. What follows is an album both as melodic ("Spanish Transit," "Past Lives") and passionate ("Ship High in Transit," "Young Blood") as anything they've done in the past. But when Caughthran screams on the last track "Digital Leash," "Change anything and I'll fucking walk!", I kind of do believe it. You can tell they had to dig deep to make an album this great. It makes you wonder why every band can't put this much effort, passion and rock and roll into their music.