It has been nine years since their début album, The Infamous Four. That’s a long time. Long enough to call this a come-back, I would say. I assume the band thinks so too, calling this second album Return Of The Infamous Four. Even though it has been almost ten years the characters on the cover have not aged one bit. I understand it is inspired by Eddie the Head (Iron Maiden, for those that lived under a rock the past 40 years), but why choose one mascot if you can have four? I always enjoyed artwork that ties albums together, so I can only welcome this! Especially since I really enjoy the drawing style this time!
A lot has happened in the past nine years. Half the line-up of the band has changed (and based on the lyrics of the album closer and title track the band consisted of four, five and six people somewhere along the way and is now back to four members). Although it has been quiet the band never really stopped. The music is written over the years since their last album. Still, it makes me wonder what the influence of the passing of time and the changing line-up were to the sound. Overall I’d say this second album is more metal influenced than their début. The root of the band is still clearly in 90’s skatepunk (what else would you expect when self-proclaimed home of 90’s skate punk Morning Wood Records is involved with this record?). To that Drunktank adds a healthy dose of metal. Most bands that add metal to their (skate)punk go for thrash metal. Not Drunktank (well… a bit at times). Drunktank is clearly influenced by heavy metal. Heavy metal from the eighties to be precise. This means you’ll hear twin guitars in for example “Waste Away” and “Green Button” amongst others. The band claims Iron Maiden as an influence which totally explains the twin guitars. The eighties is my favourite era when it comes to metal so I applaud the band for doing this.
One of the dangers of playing skatepunk is the lack of diversity. Lesser bands tend to play a full album at one speed, making a whole album sound a bit samey. Drunktank avoids this pitfall by adding different doses of metal in every song. This way, even though this is a fast album, the album sounds diverse.
For a band that prints “Damaging ears and drinking your bears” on their LP this record has some pretty serious lyrics. Songs about consumerism, about positivity about standing up for your values. Side B of the album starts with Charlie Chaplin's speech from "The Great Dictator". Upon first hearing this I thought to myself: “Oh dear, here we go again”. It challenged me to listen to the lyrics and I discovered that the cliché of adding this speech to this song actually made sense. This is one of those occasions it is done right. At the same time this band is not too serious and are not afraid to add songs about lighter subjects, stuff like the bond at a metal concert or a “we are back statement” and even some horrorpunk-like stuff like “Army Of Darkness”.
What really helps the enjoyment of the record is the great production. Although it is a bit loud every instrument is clearly audible. I would love it if more and more records would be produced a bit less loud, but I can only accept the loudness that is an industry standard as a reality for now and admit that I am sort of used to it.
Despite the fact that mixing metal and punk is not exactly original Drunktank has found an interesting angle by looking to heavy metal for inspiration instead of the obligatory dose of thrash. This record sounds fresh and is a really fun ride. I sincerely hope we will not have to wait this long again for a new record.
8.5 / 10
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