Paint It Black shouldn’t be compared to the Rolling Stones just because they share a name with a sitar-driven Stones classic (although there is a comma missing, but that’s another story). This five-piece band will be back on the road in October with Anti-Flag, so that gives the listener an idea of where they come from musically. The great thing for fans is that there are 17 songs on this album. What is nearly quizzical, though, is that at 17 songs, the disc clocks in at a whopping 18 minutes. Yes folks, a song a minute that is going at a mile a minute.
It’s the sort of album that you will miss entirely if you blink or have to take a phone call. “Cannibal” begins with a loud scream before the lead singer starts into the lyrics, repeating the title often as the manic punk rhythm and guitars give way two-thirds in to a more melodic finish. Given that it’s a 40-second song, though, one has to wonder exactly where the hell the band is going with this. “You’re dead, dead inside and there’s nowhere to hide”, the concluding lines go. “Anesthesia” is basically the same blueprint, but with more manic energy. It also goes a bit further than “Cannibal” at nearly three-quarters of a minute. You can envision the bodies flying around in a mosh pit and slam dancing galore for these songs. And it goes seamlessly into “Womb Envy”, which is more in keeping with the sneering Sex Pistols. “We’re running out of time”, Paint It Black repeat before heading into a rather radio rock format.
“Atticus Finch” is an early high point as Dave Hause, Andy Nelson, David Wagenschutz, and Dan Yemin take the tone down slightly—but not for long as it evolves (devolves?) into a meaty rock riff. “Don’t talk until you take a walk”, they scream prior to the title track, a Rancid-meets-NOFX ditty that is full of power and intensity. If Paint It Black could just take these ideas and develop them a bit further than they are, as they do on this track, the results would be infinitely better and possibly more popular. “Void” talks about rebellion and dying while the rhythm section keeps everything on course. The chorus is also a shining moment, however fleeting. “The Insider” sounds as if it’s been performed earlier, as the bass line is its main attraction. “Cutting Class” is straightforward three- to two-chord punk where Paint It Black take no prisoners. The middle section has a nice hook, also.
The album’s second half contains much of the same urgency as the first, but the band has more fun, particularly on “Head Hurts Hands on Fire”, where they resemble a band on a sugar rush, recorded on high speed dubbing, or possibly both. “Bravo Another Beautiful ‘Fuck You’ Song!” demonstrates that this band has quite a bit of talent when they decide to push the sonic envelope a touch. Buildups into the riff-riddled chorus are the song’s selling point. “Watered Down” is anything but as the no-nonsense guitars work well with the strong drums. “The Fine Art of Falling Apart” makes the album appear to be a rehash of three or, at best, four ideas that the group adheres to religiously. At this point, some listeners might have stopped listening. But the punk purists will see no wrong on this album. “Less Deicide, More Minor Threat” shows you where this band is coming from. Certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but a few might find refuge within.