It has been around six (6) years since the last Strung Out album. That's too long. 2009 brought Agents of the Underground, and I don't remember if I reviewed it or not, and I'm too lazy to check. Very probable that it was on my best of list that year. In those six years though, we've seen a greatest hits compilation with a couple new tracks and the hits remastered, as well as a box set of their remastered albums. And I should note that the remasters do sound phenomenal.
Strung Out is probably one of my favorite bands, if not my favorite. One thing: I really hate the idea of having a favorite anything really, but I think I've listened to Strung Out the most over the last 18 years or so. All of their albums have their own unique sounds, but the general idea is fast, very proficient, metal-influenced, poppy, melodic punk rock. The dudes can play their instruments, likely better than your favorite shitty nu-metal band.
What does it sound like? For some reason the initial vibe I got made me think it belongs on whatever your local modern "hard rock" radio station is. Chill out cuz, I'm not saying this is like Volbeat or Distubed level nu-metal garbage; Strung Out can out-play and out-write those hacks any day.
Worry not though, repeated listens brought the goods, and each spin brought more personality out of each song. What I initially heard as over-polished, maybe kinda slow, modern punk rock, morphed into shredding, awesome punk rock - exactly what you'd expect out of the band in 2015. Nowheresville is vintage Strung Out, and rips, but you don't need a track by track breakdown; each song slays.
Known for book-ending their albums with opening burners and epic closers, we are not disappointed here, though they will likely never top the opener-closer combo of Twisted by Design. Shout-out to Heckyeahwoman for letting me walk down the aisle to Too Close to See. Shout-out to Heckyeahwoman's mom for looking around all aghast as the ridiculous opening riff cranks up.
Vocalist Jason Cruz, probably one of the best punk vocalists out there, does his part exceedingly well. If you're familiar with their previous output, you know what to expect here, melodic punk singing, with a little bit of yelling. Cruz's distinct voice fits the music perfectly. His lyrics are again kind of vague, and generally seem to revolve around the idea of "we are something"/"we are united", against some sort of big brother governmental entity. Keep it posi, brah.
As mentioned earlier, repeated listens to this album only beget more listening. This album smokes.