Saturday, 1 November 2014

Album Review: Honor Is All We Know by Rancid

Rancid will no doubt go down as one of the most successful bands in the history of punk rock music. Since their beginnings in 1991 the band has conquered the world, releasing seven fantastic albums and have toured all over the world. Recently, after a five year wait they released their eighth studio album Honor Is All We Know. I couldn’t wait to check it out.

The album starts off with the song Back Where I Belong and straight away that classic Rancid sound which is universally loved is in full swing. Tim Armstrong’s unmistakable vocals sound better than ever as he sings about returning to his roots and know that’s where he is home. A key component to Rancids sound is Matt Freemans (who is the best bass player in the world) fantastically intricate bass lines that really drive the song forward. This is followed up by Raise Your Fist. This song is a call to arms song about solidarity and brotherhood, a frequent topic in the Rancid discography. The song has a great chorus of “raise your fist, against the power, oppress the power that exists.” Collision Course is the first song where Lars Frederiksen’s vocals really come into play. Combing Lars raspy shouting with Tim’s more talky style of singing give the song some great depth and meaning.

Evil’s My Friend see’s Rancid go towards the more ska version of their sound. The song is undeniably catchy and will have everyone moving to the beat. The fifth track on the album, Honor Is All We Know allows Freeman to show off his immense bass playing skills again as well as his gruff, raspy singing voice as he takes a turn to sing a verse. I really like how Tim, Matt and Lars all have their own verse on the song, which talks about being strong enough to live by your own code of honour. A Power Inside is another song about solidarity and standing up for your beliefs. On my first listen to the album this was the first song that really caught my attention with its huge sing along chorus. I can picture everyone at the pit singing this song at full volume. In The Streets see Rancid strip things back to just a standard punk rock jam. Tim and Lars again share vocal duties on a song that would fit perfectly on 1994’s breakthrough album Let’s Go!

The album hits the half way mark with the booze filled party anthem Face Up. At just one minute and thirty five seconds long it’s the shortest song on the album but it really ticks all the boxes in what you want in a punk rck anthem, catchy lyrics and shout along choruses, a great track. Already Dead is a song that unleashes a wonderful amount of energy. This is one of the angriest songs on Honor Is All We Know, Lars Especially sounds extremely bad tempered. When Tim starts singing on the opening of Diabolical I am instantly reminded of And Out Come The Wolves favourite Roots Radicals. It’s a song about people disagreeing on things and it stupidly turning violent. You can tell that the legendary Bad Religion guitarist and long time Rancid producer Brett Gurewitz had a hand in this song with the oozin-aahs that can be heard during the chorus. Great harmonies.

Malfunction is one of the most interesting songs on Honor Is All We Know. Dabbling more in rock and roll than punk rock, drummer Branden Steineckert relentlessly pounding the drums throughout the song, there is also a great guitar solo at the end of the song. Now We’re Through With You is another song that instantly stood out on the first listen. It’s a fast and furious straight forward punk song about turning your back on someone who has wronged you. Matt Freemans bass playing is amazing on this song, how he can play so fast amazes me. Everybody’s Sufferin’ again see’s Rancid explore their love of Jamaican music. Like Evil Is My Friend you will find very hard to refrain from bouncing along the beat. I don’t believe anyone will have ever said that Tim Armstrong has a great singing voice, not even in punk circles but you can’t deny that he can write a song that suits his voice perfectly. It sounds great on the hardest hit punk song Rancid write or a ska number such as Everybody’s Sufferen.’ Honor Is All We Know Concludes with Grave Digger, Rancid’s rhythm section is on top form on this street punk banger. Lars and Tim’s too and throw vocal duties keep the song interesting and give it so much life.

Honor Is All We Know was well worth the five year wait and completely surpasses their last effort Let The Dominoes Fall in every aspect. This is the album that fans of the band have been wanting for years. A definite album of the year contender from these legends. 

Check out Rancid here:

Now listening to Fuck You by Rancid

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