Reviews Strung Out Blackhawks Over Los Angeles

Strung Out

Blackhawks Over Los Angeles

If you’re like me, you grew up buying compilations from punk rock labels. It was like opening up a treasure box and finding jewels of new music to marvel at. As Fat Wreck Chords was putting out comps such as Survival of the Fattest and Physical Fatness, Strung Out always stood out to me as doing something unique, having a slightly harder edge than lame bands like Lagwagon. After eight albums, they are still carving their niche and putting a flag in the soil with a distinct sound that blends 90’s California pop-punk with hard-hitting metal. And Blackhawks Over Los Angeles accomplishes this feat without resorting to Avenged Sevenfold-like tactics.

Experiencing a bit of a rebirth with 2004’s Exile in Oblivion, Strung Out continue in the same vein as that album, though maybe a little less harsh. A lot of the songs on the previous album had dark themes that dealt with death and violent imagery, a little out of the ordinary for the band. Though Blackhawks Over Los Angeles has a foreboding title, the themes found here offer a little more hope than usual. Jason Cruz seems to have a slightly brighter view on life, if “All the Nations” and “Mission Statement’ are any indicator. “Letter Home” finds Cruz taking on the point of view of an Iraqi soldier confused about his purpose in this war. It’s an idea that has been done, but it still carries a lot of weight here.

There isn’t a whole lot on Blackhawks Over Los Angeles that’s terribly different from Exile in Oblivion, musically speaking. Aside from the slower “Dirty Little Secret,” they’re pretty much mining the same territory. But that’s no problem when the music is this catchy and expertly played. Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos are guitarists who are smart enough to not show off at all times, choosing to play harmonized solos only in a few songs. They mostly just excel at putting together huge choruses with instantly catchy lead lines.

Not a single song on here lags in energy or melody. The only drawback for me is that it’s just barely weaker than Exile in Oblivion, but that shouldn’t really be a judgment point for reviewing. Blackhawks Over Los Angeles shows that Strung Out is not on a downward slide, something that many other bands who’ve lasted for over a decade can’t say. Strung Out can keep on rockin’ for as long as they want. And it doesn’t appear that they’re ever going to start sucking, so barring a strange turn for the worse, it should be smooth sailing in Strung Out world from here until the end.

8.0 / 10Elliot
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
Leave a comment

8.0 / 10

8.0 / 10

Share this content
KFAI - Root Of All Evil
More by Strung Out

Strung Out


9.4 / 10 Strung Out - Transmission.Alpha.Delta. album cover

There are some albums that you hear for the first time and fall in love instantly. There are others that require repeated listens in order to grasp the depth and ...

Strung Out

Agents of the Underground

8.7 / 10 Strung Out - Agents of the Underground album cover

Strung Out's Blackhawks Over Los Angeles was a record that had a lot of ups and downs. The album showcased the band's improving musicianship and songwriting but the production really ...

Strung Out

Prototypes and Painkillers

6.9 / 10 Strung Out - Prototypes and Painkillers album cover
200 Words Or Less

Currently recording their eighth studio album, California punk quintet, Strung Out decided to put together this little compilation album full of b-sides, rarities, alternate takes, and demos. Given that Strung ...

Related news

Bands New Strung Out video and tour dates

Posted July 21, 2019, 4:22 p.m.

With a new record out soon, Strung Out have unveiled a David Lynch-inspired video directed by vocalist Jascon Cruz for the song "Under the Western Sky." Watch it after the ...

Records Strung Out are back with Songs of Armor and Devotion

Posted June 8, 2019, 10:01 a.m.

Strung Out will return with a new full-length on Fat Wreck Chords this August 9. The album was directly born of the current American political situation as well as frontman ...

Bands Strung Out - Astrolux Golden Ale

Posted June 30, 2018, 12:24 p.m.

California Strung Out fans can now enjoy a golden ale designed for the long-running Golden State band, made by Lucky Luke Brewing. "For tasting notes, we wanted this beer to ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.