...Honor Is All We Know

Written by: PP on 20/11/2014 23:56:25

"I'm back (I'm back!) I'm back (I'm back) I'm back where I belong / I've been gone way too long and I'm back where I belong" snarls Tim Armstrong on opening track "Back Where I Belong" to their 8th studio album "...Honor Is All We Know", and he's absolutely right. This song is roughly how the band sounded like during their golden 90s era before they decided to write a hardcore album with "Rancid (2000)", and certainly a radical change from the lazily sung, but chilled out and nonetheless entertaining 'old man punk' album "Let The Dominoes Fall" six years ago. It's also representative of mostly all tracks on the album, which sees Rancid return to writing spirited ska/reggae/rockabilly driven working man's punk rock delivered with most tempo and attitude we've heard from this band in more than a decade. Rancid's back, baby, and they have the songs to prove it.

The first ten(!) tracks of the record are pretty much classic Rancid through and through. The title track comes up big with its playful up-and-down bass scales and a screeching lead guitar, which work together in a brilliant dynamic aside the call/response style chorus. The breakneck speed sing along anthem "A Power Inside" is easily among the best songs they have written though without reaching "Ruby Soho" level, and "Collision Course" is as fun as it is likely to get a circle pit going in a live environment. Let's not forget all the inventive percussion and organ-style harmonies when we get down to rocksteady business on "Everybody's Sufferin'", even though the song is lyrically challenged to say the least with the same line being repeated for the entirety of the song. Later on, "Diabolical" is as quintessential Rancid as it comes with its quirky tempo and oh-so-punk atmosphere, which is something I want to talk about next.

You see, it's hard to think of another band in 2014 sound as authentically punk as Rancid does on this album despite its somewhat polished production. You need but to hear Armstrong's careless, yet charming vocal delivery play off Frederiksen's coarse yells, the constant gang shouts, and the continuous mish-mash of genres with ska, reggae, rockabilly and rocksteady all functioning as more or less direct undertones in their expression. Basically, next time someone plays you an iceage record and says this is punk, play them "A Power Inside" or "Malfunction" followed by a sharp "really you think so?" question. Watch them come to realization of just how naive they've been over the years surrounded by their hipster friends giving them misinformation about the genre. And yet, Rancid manage to sound so without feeling preachy or forced, they are just naturally tattooed, energy-driven, upbeat punk rockers writing ultra catchy tunes that come to define the genre. Yes, innovation is thrown out the window but what the hell did you expect, for Rancid to write a Metallica album? As solid as it comes with more than two decades behind them as a unit.

Download: Honor Is All We Know, A Power Inside, Back Where I Belong, Collision Course
For the fans of: NOFX, Bad Religion, Operation Ivy, Radio Dead Ones, Ex Friends
Listen: Facebook

Release date 27.10.2014
Hellcat / Epitaph

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