Originally scheduled for release in 2014, Strung Out’s Transmission.Alpha.Delta recently hit air waves on March 24, 2015. Despite the six years that have passed since the band’s last full-length release on Fat Wreck Chords, Strung Out wastes no time reminding listeners how easily they jump genres, like a bunch of kids playing punk-rock hopscotch.
The opening track, “Rats in the Walls”, lights up like a firecracker with speed-punk backbeats, smoking metal-tapping riffs, plus a stand alone bass fill from Chris Aiken that states his refusal to thumb along on root notes like most punk bassists. From the gate, Strung Out sets a fast-paced tempo, sonically landing Transmission.Alpha.Delta somewhere between their millennial releases like Twisted By Design, and Exile in Oblivion.
At the forefront of the record’s more melodically driven tracks, “The Animal and the Machine” and “Spanish Days” seemed set up as the single-worthy material, but they weren’t the ones that caught my eye. “Nowheresville” and “No Apologies” felt like the classic Strung Out I used to bump in my shitty sound-system; supercharged punk beats, catchy melodies, and layers upon layers of relentless guitar noodling in the background, while “Rebellion of the Snakes” and “Black Maps” showcase their metal-influence sound–adding guitar solos and gang vocals like a cut of a classic Iron Maiden LP.
For all the band’s musical merits though, there were a couple tracks that sounded like they’d been picked up from the cutting floor: “Modern Drugs”, a track that seemed like the band’s version of a ballad, came off a bit forced and disorganized, and the intro to “Magnolia” sounded like the start of a Rocky workout montage. “Tesla” was just plain filler. Rant ended.
However, to make up for these shortcomings,Transmission.Alpha.Delta had one last little gem, buried at the end of the track list: the guitar intro on “Westcoasttrendkill” felt as thought it had been lifted from the soundtrack of Castlevania: Simon’s Quest. In this humble reviewers opinion, that’s the hallmark of a kickass metal riff.