A Wilhelm Scream
LabelFat Wreck Chords
2. Blackhawks Over Los Angeles
3. Party In the Hills
4. All the Nations
5. A War Called Home
6. Letter Home
8. Dirty Little Secret
10. The King Has Left the Building
11. Mission Statement
Your RatingCreate an account or log in to rate this album
After fat wreck staples Good Riddance listed reasons for their breakup stating that the genre of music they play is getting lost in the shuffle, it’s pretty remarkable that Strung Out has decided to stick it out and keep chugging along because there is no doubt that they are feeling it too. Strung Out’s last two studio offerings have been simultaneously panned by old, bitter fans hoping for Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues part deux and hailed as critical achievements by those who claim their transformation from speedy skate-punk to metal-tinged nu-punk was a necessary transition. 2007 marks the release of their 7th proper full-length, Blackhawks Over Los Angeles and while it still might not provide the same adrenalin rush as Suburban, it’s definitely the most complete piece of work the band has released since The Element Of Sonic Defiance.
One prevailing theme throughout Strung Out’s recording history has been questionable production quality and it seems as though they have finally straightened those problems out. Once again the band commissioned the skills of Matt Hyde (Hatebreed, Slayer) and while my initial fear was that Blackhawks Over Los Angeles would suffer from the same production woes as Exile In Oblivion, upon hearing the first initial chord it was obvious that things were drastically different. Jordan’s snare finally has some balls and the guitar tracks have a lot more bite this time around. Maybe they brought in a ringer and just gave Matt all the credit in the liner notes…?
While the last two Strung Out full-lengths seemed like an experiment with many different styles of metal, Blackhawks Over Los Angeles is more of a return to their melodic punk roots. Granted, it isn’t a full return, but for those still bitter about how the band hasn’t released another Twisted By Design, this record is probably the closest they will ever come to rekindling that style. "Party In The Hills", "All The Nations", and "War Called Home" reign supreme as the catchiest songs on the record and are definitely reminiscent of Strung Out’s “classic” material. Not being a group of fellas who would abandon the outlandish guitar shreddery of recent memory the title track and “The King Has Left The Building” will definitely satisfy those who have taken a shine to Strung Out’s metal oriented material. My only real complaint with this disc involves the lyrical content. Jason’s lyrics have always been thought provoking in a very introspective kind of way and many of the songs this time around are overwhelmingly political. That isn’t to say that Jason doesn’t sound insightful on Blackhawks Over Los Angeles because he definitely does, I just happen to think that his personal lyrics are much more innovative.
Blackhawks Over Los Angeles keeps the metal/punk rock influence pretty even handed from start to finish and I really think this record will satisfy some of the bitter old-heads. After seven full-lengths it’s hard for just about any band to keep things interesting and these guys deserve a lot of credit in that area. It would be pretty ridiculous for any Strung Out fan to sleep on this album so get out there and support these guys so their genre doesn’t fall even further into obscurity.