Sound — 7
The Damned Things could be summed up in one word: Hodgepodge. When you cast your eyes down the ingredients list you could be forgiven for at the very least raising an eyebrow. Anthrax (Rob Caggiano who co-wrote, produced and played bass in addition to lead guitars on the album and rhythm king Scott Ian), Fall Out Boy (Drummer Andy Hurley and co-songwriter Joe Trohman) and Every time I Die (Keith Buckley) are (on paper) hardly a match made in heaven and predictably Ironiclast sounds like someone has strapped all three bands to a dartboard and thrown a bull's-eye. The aggression and edgy sound of Anthrax, the sheer hard-core swagger of ETID and the pop sensibility of Fall Out Boy are all present to some extent. The resulting Frankenstein-esque creation sounds a little like Wolfmother would if they were more testicularly endowed. That said, this is a competent album. Album opener Handbook for the Recently Deceased is no slouch and provides a swift kick-off to proceedings. The big tunes are present and correct and sit neat and pretty behind the album's opening gambit. Friday Night is a high octane stormer and the twiddly harmony driven We've Got A Situation Here is only marginally less explosive. For every big tune though, there is one that smacks of filler. With a more saccharine vocal line Bad Blood could have found its way onto latter day Fall Out Boy album, which wouldn't be a bad thing if this wasn't a balls out bluesy hard rock album. Indeed, Little Darling seems out of place given that Friday Night does its job better and a few tracks earlier into the album and consequently appears uninspiring. Holistically speaking though, the pros outweigh the cons.
Lyrics — 8
When I first heard that TDT were to use Keith Buckley I was apprehensive. Widely regarded as one of the best frontmen in hardcore if not music, Buckley slips into the hard rock context in a glove like manner. His melodies hold up surprisingly well and when he does get to get his growl on he is exemplary as per usual. Anyone familiar with ETID will know the high calibre of Buckley's lyrical work and Ironiclast is no exception to this. His lyrics, while not so downright cheeky as with ETID, are engaging and read almost like poetry. Without him, this album could have struggled and while he doesn't carry it, Buckley makes it what it is.
Overall Impression — 6
Ironiclast is a good album and generally speaking it hits the spot when you consider what it is (a solid blues influenced hard rock album) and where it's come from (TDT is a side project for most of its lineup). Whilst that is a blessing, it's also where the album falls down. Ironiclast is the sum of its parts and little to nothing more. The great bands of this mortal coil are without exception more than the sum of their parts and on this showing this is not the case with The Damned Things. Ironiclast is a good album but with a cast this prestigious, we should be expecting greatness and Ironiclast doesn't offer that.