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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: 1992 in California

Genre: Alternative

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

Southern California punkers Strung Out were formed in 1992, with a lineup featuring vocalist Jason Cruz, guitarists Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos, bassist Jim Cherry, and drummer Jordan Burns (formerly of Ten Foot Pole, who joined up after the band's first 7"). The quintet signed with NOFX bassist Fat Mike's Fat Wreck Chords label in 1993 and issued a debut album, Another Day in Paradise, the following year. The band took an artistic leap forward with the 1996 follow-up, Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues,...
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Agents of the Underground, Strung Out
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