as usual almost nothing any other reviewer says about this album relates to my listening experience so i’m going to throw in my two cents. ghetto healer is the clear stand-out, basically the only song here with a chorus melodic enough to be distinguished from the verse. the album as a whole is probably their most redundant and going through the motions sounding. the fact that it seems like they made it without really trying is kinda impressive in an odd way because with the distinct style they’ve developed, even on autopilot the music they produce sounds compelling in small doses. if you just want another record showcasing Strung Out’s inimitable thrashy pop-punk style you’ve got it, but it’s kinda disappointing if not dumbfounding that they don’t think it’s worth putting in the thought and effort to make the songs stand out from each other more. it’s like they really have the option of pushing themselves to do something compelling on each track but are content to rest on their laurels. they’ve always been an unpredictable band with seemingly random ups and downs so i’ll have to remain at least slightly open to the possibility that there is some subtle brilliance here i’m not picking up on.
Over their tenure as the progenitors of the metal-infused punk sound, strung out have yet to get complacent. Instead, like a championship fighter that gets stronger with every round, they continually unleash a battering assault of technical guitar work and gripping melodies. Agents of the underground with blisteringly fast riffs, crushing rhythms, and powerful vocals, it is quintessential strung out, yet the band manage to evolve their sound. Enlisting the producing talents of cameron webb (motorhead, social distortion, danzig, pennywise), the success of the collaboration is overtly apparent.
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I am a huge Strung out fan seen em live a bunch of times. I guess I am just falling away from them. I loved the older albums like Art of Sonic Defiance. But I feel like the last couple albums are so far away from the raw power that used to be strung out. Just not as enjoyable as they used to be. There are still a couple of good tidbits in here though. So if your a die hard I say buy it. I just don’t know if I will purchase the next one.
While many people talk about Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues as being Strung Out’s best work I completely disagree. That album is good but it is inferior to many of the bands later releases such as Twisted By Design and Exile in Oblivion. The musicianship of Srung Out really started to stand out on Twisted By Design. On that album, Strung Out proved they weren’t your run of the mill punk band and that they were technically sufficient and a notch above their peers. While many followers of this band disliked the departure from the fast skate punk material of the early albums and venture into metal inspired punk, the band has done a 180 and caught many people off guard. Agents of the Underground does show the band has returned to their roots but the metal influence is still there, and the songs are still technical. This is a great album and one of their best imho.
ok, first off i only gave it 4 cause I’m comparing it to other strung out, it would be an easy 5 for any other artist, and close to 4 1/2 for strung out. lets get started, this album most closely sounds like exile in oblivion compared to any other, you could mix and match tracks and would never notice. I love all their albums, I think the weakest is American Paradox which i still like, it just had too many songs i skip, but also has some amazing songs. This album is easy to listen to all the way through, only 11 songs, they all blend nicely. the best way i can tell you about this album is to compare the songs to other strung out, some people might disagree or come up with better comparisons but this is just my opinion
1. black crosses, most like velvet alley, very fast, great song, mabye the best on album
2. carcrashradio, most like somnombulance or solitaire, most poppy song but not that poppy, still probably my least favorite track and its not that bad
3. fever and the sound, most like, blackhawks over los angeles, i love this song, fast, good beat, great solo, unbelievable
4. heart attack, most like scarlet, very catchy to sing along with, mid tempo, great song
5. vanity, most like letter home, slower song, very emotional and dark
6. ghetto heater, most like war called home, another fast one, great song, a little more upbeat
7. agents of the underground, most like lucifermotorcade, heaviest song, totally metal, love it
8. nation of thieves, most like cemetery, most alternative sounding song, good not great
9. jack knife, most like no voice of mine, another faster totally metal one, awesome
10. dead spaces, most like her name is blood, fast, alot of tempo changes, awesome intro like her name in blood
11. andy warhol, most like swan dive, at first a little disappointed that they ended with a slow one, but its a great song, very catchy, makes you wanna sing along, feel good song, kind like diver too.
anyway, hope that helps people
It’s hard for me to grade a new Strung Out record because Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues is one of my top three records of all time, of any genre. So even if a new Strung Out offering is really good I find I have to force myself away from unfair comparisons.
Agents of the Underground is a really good record, much better than Blackhawks Over Los Angeles. If you’re like me and you were getting tired of the metal-ish thing Strung Out had been experimenting with over the past few albums you’ll be pleasantly surprised. This album is more melodic, more closely resembling their older music, pre-Twisted By Design. If the songs from Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues were played at half-speed, it would sound like this album; melodic yet slower than their previous melodic offerings. Black Crosses, the album opener is absolutely excellent. It’s the most up tempo on the album and the most similar to Suburban Teenage… and Twisted By Design. The rest of the album sounds like Suburban Teenage played at half speed. Good but not the best.
If you’re already a Strung Out fan I highly recommend this album. I’d say it’s their best since Element of Sonic Defiance. If you’re new to Strung Out I’d try Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues and Twisted By Design first. It’s great to hear new music from one of the best punk rock bands of the past 15-20 years. They’ve still got it.