Strung Out truly occupies its own planet in the greater heavy music universe — the under-appreciated Simi Valley, California quintet’s deft, beguiling metal-tinged take on melodic punk hardcore is highly technical and complex without sacrificing soul or ferocity as it builds a welcome bridge over multiple subgenres, calling to mind everything from Propaghandi to Bad Religion to Megadeth to Motorhead to Lifetime to Iron Maiden along the way.
It’s tempting to now name probably twenty “punk” mainstays that Strung Out should’ve long-ago buried in terms of both album sales and critical acclaim, but let’s keep this positive and simply note that thirty years in the band’s weird aural alchemy is still as potent and on-point as ever.
Exhibit A-Z: Songs of Armor and Devotion, the searching, politically charged ninth full-length courtesy these longtime Fat Wreck Chords champs, which is out Friday but can be streamed right fucking now below in full. (Read about the excellent Fat Wreck Chords documentary Decibel‘s own Greg Pratt helped bring to life here.)
“I believe it’s safe to say this record is a culmination of Strung Out’s past, present and future,” vocalist Jason Cruz tells Decibel. “Where we have come from, where we are at, and where we are headed. The shackles have been removed and the dam has busted. The kids are not alright. Put up your fucking dukes and get down…”
And here’s the video for “Under the Western Sky”: