The Damned Things – ‘Ironiclast’

An album that sticks in your subconscious for years to come

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Pair together members of Fall Out Boy, Anthrax and Every Time I Die and imagine what type of music will materialize. It shouldn’t be tolerable, but what solidifies is a hidden rock gem.

Formed in 2009, hard rock supergroup The Damned Things comprised of Joe Throman and Andy Hurley of pop punk outfit Fall Out Boy, Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano of 1980s thrash metal band Anthrax and Josh Newtown and Keith Buckley of post-hardcore group Every Time I Die fame.

This blending of age groups, musical styles and personalities works about as well on paper as writing 2 + 2 = fish, but what erupts from this potential volcano of tragedy is something that has stood the test of time.

Released on Dec. 14, 2010, “Ironiclast” brought forth a level of concise and solid hard rock/metal song writing that none of the band members’ primary projects have been able to channel in recent memory.

Opening up with the straightforward rock radio track “Handbook for the Recently Deceased,” the band paints a picture of a night on the town that only ends when it is forced to. These teenage-inspired lyrics are laid on a background of harmony-driven distorted guitars that have the song sounding like Fall Out Boy singing hard rock karaoke at a random dive bar (which would be almost equally as awesome).

The next two tracks are among the upper echelon of the tracklisting. “Bad Blood” and “Friday Night (Going Down in Flames)” add to this record’s party rock atmosphere that doesn’t want to let up. The heavy guitars and vocals featured throughout sound as if they were tailormade for late night driving sessions (hopefully sans drinking).

“We’ve Got a Situation Here” holds the fourth slot on the tracklisting and serves as the lead single from “Ironiclast.”

Complete with a superhero-themed music video, the song is arguably the strongest cut from the project. The album features lyrics that will inspire individuals much younger than the band members themselves, however it does feel a tad like shameless modern rock radio bait.

Following the flurry of single-worthy tracks, the album takes a noticeable cat-nap in terms of diverse and interesting songwriting for the next three tracks.

“A Great Reckoning,” “Black Heart” and “Little Darling” are all solid songs, but they offer up more of the same content that the first 40 percent of the album did. However, the last part of the record will more than make up for this.

Two of the most underappreciated tracks from the collection are “Ironiclast” and “Graverobber.” On these two songs, the band channels the spirit of their lead singer’s primary band (Every TIme I Die) and makes the transition from hard rock to metal seamlessly.

Featuring screaming as well as clean vocals, these songs deserve to both be singles, or at least a few slots higher in the album’s tracklisting.

Even though this record is a fun listen, it doesn’t offer much in terms of deep contemplative post-listening sessions. The Damned Things isn’t a Radiohead, Pink Floyd, or other similarly dense and life-contemplating group. But hey, not every band has to reinvent the wheel.

“Ironiclast” is fun, heavy and surprising. Consisting of strong guitar and vocal work, catchy tracks and a cover that will instantly draw your attention, “Ironiclast” is a must listen for any rock radio enthusiast.