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Album Review

The Damned Things, 'Ironiclast'

December 20, 2010

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Assembling a band is like drafting a sports team, with all the players drawing from the same playbook. Conversely, a supergroup of musicians can be like a fantasy sports team, all about individual performances. For The Damned Things, a new band made up of members of disparate acts Anthrax, Every Time I Die, and Fall Out Boy, heavy music fans may have expected just such a confused mess. Yet there’s enough of each of their prior bands sprinkled throughout to elevate the well-trod formula. Songs like “Handbook for the Recently Deceased’’ soar with the hooky pop choruses of Fall Out Boy, while the title track marries the thrash of Anthrax with Every Time I Die’s scorched metalcore. It’s songs like that where singer Keith Buckley (of the latter band) matches the intensity of the instrumentation with brutal vocals that make better sense than the suburban-rock-radio tones he delivers elsewhere. There and on “Grave Robber’’ his violent scream lines up with the hairpin rhythm turns his bandmates lay down for him like a running back following blockers. A good teammate, in other words. (Out now.) LUKE O’NEIL

ESSENTIAL “Handbook for the Recently Deceased’’