Strung Out


Written by: PP on 16/04/2015 22:36:34

After a six-year break, metallic technical punks Strung Out are finally back with a new album, "Transmission.Alpha.Delta", their eighth record overall. Except this one's not as metallic as the past decade-and-a-half's worth of albums by them have been. Instead, the band opt for a tour-de-force of their entire discography in one, well-balanced mixture. Let me put it this way: Strung Out haven't been this smooth and polished since their early days, and they achieve a pop punk vibe without sacrificing the entirety of their metallic crust or technical flair in the process. Oh, and they've mustered some pretty freaking catchy songs as well while they've been at it.

The record starts out strong with "Rats In The Walls". Blazing guitars, Jason Cruz's quintessential smoke-laden croon, and a great chorus immediately let you know this is a Strung Out album in its inimitable form. But already here you can feel the production of the record focusing on a softer side rather than the blinding metal that opened previous album "Agents Of The Underground". This opens up a realm of possibilities in terms of melody lines, but for some reason the band spend the next few tracks not exploring these and instead deliver songs that are decent but fairly standard on the Strung Out scale. By the time we reach track five, "Black Maps", we achieve lift off, however, and from here onwards the band make a case for one of the better punk albums this year.

"Spanish Days" is a candidate for the catchiest punk rock track in 2015, showcasing their pop punk style we haven't really heard since "Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues" in 1996. "Tesla" proves the band still got it when it comes to writing killer riffs that most of us will never learn on guitar. "Nowheresville" is another "Suburban" throwback - and has a chorus to kill for. "Magnolia" is a little heavier and darker but upholds the high level of songwriting of the past few tracks. "Go It Alone" and "No Apologies" are two of the best Strung Out tracks in the past 15 years: they attack the listener with relentless speed and sweet technical licks, whilst mixing in a fantastic chorus at the same time. My notes for these two songs, in particular, have a footnote that captures the essence of "Transmission.Alpha.Delta" in general: some exceptionally catchy choruses found in between".

It's a shame the track ordering for the album is so weird. Right now, you'll have to endure through weaker material in the beginning to get through to a second half which outlines why Strung Out are one of the most celebrated bands in punk rock history since 1990. It takes a great songwriting talent to mix together such technically apt musicianship with complex arrangements and still arrive at a sound as infectiously catchy as they do here. One of the highlights this year in punk rock, that's for sure.


Download: Go It Alone, No Apologies, Spanish Days, Nowheresville, Tesla
For the fans of: Pulley, Rufio, A Wilhelm Scream, Only Crime
Listen: Facebook

Release date 24.03.2015
Fat Wreck Chords

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