downset were at the forefront of a musical movement in the early 90s history of punk and hardcore, alongside Rage Against the Machine mashing raps lyrical flow with riffs before nu-metal managed to dumb down the social political viewpoints, and then an early generation of music fans.
Unfortunately downset never achieved the success of RATM due a lot to lack of record label support. The world already had one leading political musical force, why confuse the issue with another one that didn’t just question the morals of big business while taking the filthy lucre, but stood on the street corners of their hometown LA and shouted about things that affected the everyman.
But enough about the band’s history. It has been eight years since downset’s last self-released album and with the might of one of the largest metal labels behind them, the time is now for them to hold that mirror back up to society and attempt to offer positive solutions to the ills of the world. If like me you have followed the bands trajectory, then it may come as a small surprise at just how good this album is. Cost restraints no doubt hampered some of the band’s releases after their third LP, but it always felt that parts of the follow up albums were just dialled in. This album blasts in and out in just over 30 minutes and never lets up from open to close.
From the title track opener to the last riff ringing out of closer Ready for This everything that made this band a joy to listen to is here – the bouncy bass line that under pins the soon the be live favourite Wreck It to the calls for unity of Won’t Forget and The Place To Be. If there is any shaky moments, they are all encased in On Lock (Only The Deafest) that sees vocalist Rey Oropeza singing clean instead of his usual hardcore bark/rap combination at times and as much as I like him as a vocalist, clean singing just isn’t his strongest asset.
As everything old becomes Nu again, now is the perfect time for some of the originators to finally get some of the recognition they deserve. And when they still can assemble such energetic and catchy material hopefully they can stick it out for the nu renaissance and continue to show some of those around them how conscious and uplifting music can be done, and be done properly. If you are old enough to have missed the band the first time now is time to get back on board, if you have never heard downset before start today.
2. Blackest of Days
3. New Respect
4. Won’t Forget
5. Wreck It
6. On Lock (Only the Deafest)
7. The Place to Be
8. Your Power
9. Positive Min
10. Hear Me Now
12. Ready for This