In A Warzone

Written by: PP on 19/08/2013 23:38:03

It has been eight years since the previous Transplants release "Haunted Cities", which featured an awkward hip hop expression with punk and hardcore undertones, so a history lesson may be in order. They're a supergroup consisting of Tim Armstrong (Rancid, guitar/vocals/keyboard), Travis Barker (Blink 182, drums/percussion), and two lesser known members Skinhead Rob (lead vocals) and Kevin Bivona (bass), originally formed to experiment with the outer realms of each musicians' comfort zones. I believe the London garage/drum and bass scene was a major inspiration at the time of formation, hence those elements, including dub, reggae, and hip hop have been the core foundation of Transplants' sound across their two albums in 2002 and 2005, respectively.

Fast-forward eight years past a hiatus and a reunion in 2010, and here we are, finally, with the third Transplants album called "In A Warzone". And is it just me or have Transplants never been this punk rock before? Though hip hop and dub/drum'n'bass elements are still featured prominently in the mix, the majority of songs could be mistaken for experimental Rancid songs, both in terms of the culturally vibrant, funky mood of the album, as well as for the original punk rebellion that's omnipresent in the instrumentation. "Completely Detach", for instance, is a pure hardcore song with groovy guitars that recall Rancid 2000, "Exit The Wasteland" balances a fine line between sounding catchy and heavy, and opener "In A Warzone" is an all-out punk anthem old school style if you've ever heard one.

On the other extreme, you have songs like "Come Around", which is about as chilled out as it gets with a few reggae-esque bits thrown in for good measure in the midst of summery ska guitars and an overall beach party type of melody. Tim Armstrong's smokey delivery hits a home run every time, and it's unfortunate he is not utilized more on this record because he's clearly the better vocalist to Skinhead Rob, whose delivery is more suited for a hardcore release (and the heavier songs on this record). And although "In A Warzone" features a song like "Something's Different", which has vibes of both Gorillaz and Travis Barker's disastrous "Give The Drummer Some" project, even here a punk style chorus and funky piano appear to give the hip hop song some additional meat around its bones. Basically, the vast majority of hip hop/rap and nu-metal elements of "Haunted Cities" have been dropped in favour of a rowdy, funky, vibrant punk expression that showcases the genre in a light you've probably not heard before outside a Rancid record. That makes "In A Warzone" one of the surprise records to take with you from this year, and certainly one that is - as Tim Armstrong and co so aptly put it on the track carrying the same name - "something different".


Download: Back To You, Exit The Wasteland, See It To Believe It, All Over Again
For the fans of: Rancid, The Filaments, Gorillaz, Sonic Boom Six, Skindred, Travis Barker
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.06.2013

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