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Agents of the Underground

Strung Out

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Album Review

For Agents of the Underground, the Californian Warped Tour vets in Strung Out continue to churn out their signature brand of pop-punk with a metal slant. After 20 years of going strong, singer Jason Cruz and the gang recruited producer Cameron Webb (Social Distortion, Motörhead) to document their seventh full-length. With big punchy hooks, blistering technical chops, and licks worthy of Headbanger's Ball (complete with dueling harmonies), it's a gritty, fiery affair that shows no signs of the band's wear over time. "Nation of Thieves" pays tribute to Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law" riff, and "Heart Attack" has elements of Maiden, but even with deliberately metal aspects, the music never feels completely metal-minded. Of course, no metal group in their right mind would ever write a song about Andy Warhol. Punk's definitely their first love, and here, Strung Out successfully carve out their own private niche somewhere between the Avenged Sevenfold/AFI types and the NOFXs and Anti-Flags of the world, while showing that they're still a relevant force.

Biography

Formed: 1989 in Simi Valley, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Mixing up punk speed, metal guitar power, and a dash of electronics for seasoning, Southern California rockers Strung Out were formed in 1989, with a lineup featuring vocalist Jason Cruz, guitarists Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos, bassist Jim Cherry, and drummer Adam Austin. By the time the band released their first 7", Austin had been replaced by Jordan Burns, formerly of Ten Foot Pole. The quintet signed with NOFX bassist Fat Mike's Fat Wreck Chords label in 1993 and issued a debut album, Another Day...
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Agents of the Underground, Strung Out
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