I'd like to start out by letting you know these guys are a 3 piece Melodic/Hardcore Punk Trio from Evesham England but if no one would have told me they were from the UK, I would have thought they were from Chicago all day because they're right up my alley!
Dead Lands was put out through TNS Records, its Officer Down's 4th release following their last ablum entitled "Thrown To The Water" which was reasleased in sept of 2012, check it out when you get the chance.You can also hear these guys on the latest comp from Willful Wreckords entitled "Willful Wreckords Presents Music For The Sonic Skitzoid" which was just put out earlier this year.
Anyway Back to their DEAD LANDS album for now.
THE ALBUM IS SICK! It has all the key elements I personally look for in a melodic hardcore punk band, crisp punchy guitar work complimented by a smooth bass with great tonality (what are you playing through dude an Ampeg?) and relentlessly fast intricate drumming with Gang vocals in all the right places. This is definitely a must hear band for 2014! If you like Strike Anywhere,Leftover Crack,Bad Religion, Morning Glory,Dead To Me,The Swellers,The Revision Plan or Rule 22 You'll love Officer Down!
Track one is the self titled track of the album right off the bat these guys tell you what they're all about. "Bring on tomorrow and hope for the change that we all strive for, Tomorrows a different day" kinda says it all in my opinion.This song is filled with cool tempo changes, Hard hitting drumming,Big Gang vocals, head bobing palm mutes and of course strong lead guitar riffs and bass lines. I was totally taken back when I put this on today as soon as the first words of this song were belted out I was consumed by memories of scene I was a part of a few years ago that has long sense faded away. All the instruments in this song come out super clean and the vocals are spot on. Overall I liked this song alot.
GHOST OF BLACKENED DAYS
When Ghost Of Blackened Days came on I thought I'd stumbled upon an unrealsed BSide from Strike Anywhere. G.O.B.D definitely picks up the tempo and has very Strong Back up vocals. This song would easily be fun to pit or crowd surf to. And once again a very strong sense of comradery is felt in this song, I mean the opening line of the chourus is "We're All In This Together" and you kinda get that feeling like hell yeah we are! G.O.B.D has really clean stops and starts and smooth transitions in between the verse,chorus and bridge parts. I'd just like to point out that about 2 minutes into this song theres a slow build up to bass drop that is followed by a pretty sick guitar melody that carries the song to it's inevitable end but the reason I bring this up is because thats not easy to do!...acutally its not easy to do well and these guys pulled it off without a hitch. Good Song!
YOU CAN'T MAKE AN ACTION MOVIE WITHOUT SNAPPING A FEW NECKS
Short and sweet just the way I like it! This song is all of but a minute long and hits you with the quickness like a classic 80's hardcore song. Melodies linked up with fast drumming strong gang vocals and cool title make me a happy dude. This song kicks ass and if you're there when they play it live so will you.
Pull The Last Punch
First off this song is fast pretty much right out of the gates which I really liked! Theres just something about that galloping drum beat that whips people into a frenzy when your at a show. This song is super uplifting as well,"From the start you will lay your weapons down. A slave to your past.Sit back and watch yourself burn up, All you get is ashes." Really hit home with me. Gang vocals of course were sick. Also the time changes in between parts are super clean and really pull you into this song and what it's all about. Theres also a very brief but sweet break down in this song also. I'd say over all this song rocks!
Has an Ambient intro into a neck stapping hard punk rock style that I haven't come across since Much The Same was still playing shows! The fact that all the lead and back up vocal parts are super spot on,Harsh yet also very clear combo'd with a catchy chorus leads me to believe this song is sure to do very well both live and on the album.
Light The Torches
Is one of those songs you hear at the show and as soon as it starts you immediatly punch your neighbor in the face and start the pit. Needless to say this song is full of that UK Evesham style and energy we've all come to know and respect or at least me through hearing this album. Unite and fight is the main message I got from "Light The Torces" Once again its super fast, gang vocals are spot on and the guitar and bass parts are massive...When are these guys coming to the state???
Is one of those songs with super fast verse parts with that 2 second pause in between which is just enough time to do something cool in the pit before the beat picks back up again. Theres also a plethera of cool break downs in this song. A definite crowd pleaser, Officer Down even put a very well thought out slow building bridge part in the song that speeds back up into a highspeed chase, like if you slow down you may just get trampled to death by the people behind you type feel if you know what I mean?Definitely a strong song on this album.
Waiting On This
This song gave me that upper Michigan Melodic Hardcore feel forsure! And if you've been to a show or two up that way you know what I mean! Those guys go hard and apparently so does Officer Down! This track is catchy and hard. They even snuck in a harder throw down type break down towards the end over all I'd say this is a good song.
Stay Your Hand
Is Both a lyricly and musicly up lifting song. The guitar, bass and drum parts are pretty sick too theres alot of stops and starts. Everythings got really solid tone and oh yeah the gang vocals are spot on but what else is new? The split between the lead and rhythm guitar parts are super sick but I don't see how it can be done live but I'd love to. If Sunset on 32nd street and the To the World by Strike Anywhere had a baby that baby would totally hangout with this song. Over all I like it.
Haunt These Streets
The Last song of the album. It seems like Officer Down picked it for a reason....It's really good and very different from all the other songs on the album. They really whiped it out and threw it on the table with this one the drums are Punchier, Fast The guitar and bass parts are bigger and man oh man the lead singer killed it on this one. "Haunt These Streets" is definitely a great anthem to end on for this album. Because from what I can tell Officer Down isn't going away anytime soon. Each album these guys put out gets better and better each time I listen to them.
Speacial Thanks to PoDunk Radio for Letting me Review this album
- Leo Sanders