("HELLCAT RECORDS" & "EPITAPH RECORDS"; CD)
(Note: Don't ask me if there will be a LP release - or if there's maybe already a LP release out - because that's something I simply don't know.)
(Running Time: 14 songs in pretty exactly 32:53 minutes.)
Really? Five years? Five years passed since RANCID released the so far last album in their discography, speaking of the last long player "LET THE DOMINOS FALL" from 2009. Oh man, I guess that's what everyone means, especially everyone growing slowly old(er), when he/she says that time always goes by too soon and too quick and this sooner and quicker year by year. Hm, but okay, I also guess that that's a different and another story, so enough of it here and now. Instead of this let us rather go to the topic, the brandnew RANCID album "...HONOR IS ALL WE KNOW", released recently this year 2014 via a collaboration work between "HELLCAT RECORDS" (anyone's wondering right now?) and "EPITAPH RECORDS", that features 14 songs in more or less exact 32:53 minutes of running time. Okay, now where to start... Ah, maybe here: To be honest then I have to admit, that I really had sort of a hard time with this album. The last two albums - already pretty old albums - failed to convince me, I mean, okay, not that "LET THE DOMINOS FALL" (2009) or especially "INDESTRUCTIBLE" (2003 - really, from 2003, damn it, this was eleven years ago... when it was released I was just twenty-two years old... man, damn it...) had been anyhow sort of really bad albums or so, I mean countless other Punkrock and Streetpunk bands no matter from where ever would sell their souls to do just one album like them in their whole existence as a band, but they anyhow also hadn't been anything like really strong albums, not to talk they would had been great albums, and especially set in relation to or with the great works of RANCID they were anyhow nothing else than pretty weak. (Their "B-SIDES & C-SIDES" collection album from 2007 doesn't matter here, just for the record.) So, now with living in 2014 which means damn long fourteen years after their so far last from start to finish just strong album, their simply "RANCID" titled album from 2000, I was really curious and asked myself if RANCID would still be able to deliver (and I mean deliver the goods) and if they are still relevant today or not. And so, what answers could us "...HONOR IS ALL WE KNOW" give and what do we or I know today, what answers to my questions... Like already said I had a hard time with this album, even I was heavily excited and enthusiastic to have and hear it. I can't really tell what it was (even I am pretty sure that it just had been my expectations that simply were set too high by me for this long awaited album), but after I thought about it as often as I was listening to it over and over again over the last past few weeks I decided that it doesn't really matter anyhow anyway to me - not to talk of you -, because, you know what, from my point of view two things can easily and clearly being said about "...HONOR IS ALL WE KNOW":
(1.) It's by any means a really strong album, and it's definitely an album that grows on you more and more with every listening session that you have with it and it's damn great to hear RANCID going back to their roots and their strongest days and albums, which are definitely "...AND OUT COME THE WOLVES" (1995) and "LIFE WON'T WAIT" (1998), and I mean this is in general great and in particular and in my personal case it's even greater because this had been the two albums that I started to knew them from and with and because of which I totally fell in love with them, and they are still two very, very important albums to and for me, I even would say two of my ever most important albums. So, yes, even RANCID can't really match up with their glory days around nearly twenty years ago - but I think this is something that was more or less sort of clear right from the start, because, hey, come on, you can't top what is already the very best, so forget about it - but at the end of the day I have to say that they come anyhow pretty close... and as close as they never had been since 1998 passed us all by. (Damn it... 1998... back then I was just seventeen years young, not to talk of 1995... oh man...)
(2.) RANCID are definitely still a very relevant band, and even more with being backed up by this one here their new album: not because of historical or nostalgic reasons and matters, I would even say they are still one of the most relevant bands outta there, for Punkrock and Streetpunk anyway, but also beside or "above" Punkrock/Streetpunk definitely as well.
So, okay, with all this now being said, let me have - before we reach the closing lines of this review article - a more detailed look for you on "...HONOR IS ALL WE KNOW", the newest RANCID offspring. Like already said the direction points or goes back to their glory days from the mid to late 1990's definitely represented by and with "...AND OUT COME THE WOLVES" (1995) and "LIFE WON'T WAIT" (1998) so expect hymnal and anthemic, heavy kicking and sharp cutting yet melodic and catchy singing and fingerpointing and fist raising sing-a-long fueled Streetpunk with big loads of SKA and Reggae influences in it and also clearly inspired by THE CLASH styled Punkrock, and added to this we find cool Oi! marks in it (anyone who's now wondering simply don't know RANCID and had slept under some damn lonely stones especially over the last couple of years), all delivered by strong and pretty if not very diverse guitars, a great walking and talking bass playing, tight and precise and to the point precise played very effective drumming, and crowned by great double lead vocals by two of the most charismatic voices in today's business, and that are also backed up by massive crew shouts and delivering really brilliant sing-a-longs of might and power again and again. The songwriting is just nothing else than strong, really strong, and I mean really and truly very strong, and even they definitely sort of go back in their history they aren't delivering a lame and stale boring ripp off of their own hey-days, no, instead of this they deliver a fresh and strong, a grapping and exciting high energy album full of cool ideas, grapping arrangements and compositions, forceful pace variations, and on and on, it's all there, and if it wouldn't be for some (thankfully only few) really weak songs like especially the pretty lame opener "BACK TO WHERE I BELONG" and especially the terrible crappy uninteresting final track "GRAVE DIGGER" they would have gotten an even better rating for "...HONOR IS ALL WE KNOW" up here as they so get now. Strong lyrics, a pretty "slim" but anyhow beautiful and also very cool artwork, and then also a first class production sound we get on top of it all as well. My personal favorites are "RAISE YOUR FIST", "COLLISION COURSE", "EVIL'S MY FRIEND", the almighty title track "...HONOR IS ALL WE KNOW", "A POWER INSIDE", "IN THE STREETS", "DIABOLICAL", and the great "NOW WE'RE THROUGH WITH YOU", so if you ask me then check this tunes out first. And do yourself the favor and give this album some time to grow on you, because maybe it's at first the same with you as it was with me and like in my case your expectations had been maybe just too high or too ambitious for an "innocent" kick off for and of and with "...HONOR IS ALL WE KNOW", so don't spoil the album by yourself for yourself, instead of this rather start to enjoy it, because it offers really a lot for you, especially if you are into Streetpunk, Punkrock, and cliché-free and non-ridiculous SKA-Punk music, hm, and RANCID fans and fanatics will surely love it sooner or later anyhow for sure. I will spare it me and you to compare RANCID here and now with other bands, because they are and sound simply just like themselves, definitely just like RANCID, point and fact. Even it's not the best RANCID album ever (but, again, who should have thought so) it's their best album at least since 2000 and maybe even since 1998 and it is anhyow a really strong album that I can calmly recommend here and now to you and you. Hm, okay, and now I think that's it for this one, just give this little shining silver disc a fair chance and see how you start to dance and sing a long with them in an enthusiastically thrilled way and mood - and trust me, exactly this will surely happen to you, sooner or later, period. Cheers & Oi! Oi! Oi! /// Andy
(Rating: 8,5 of 10 points)