L.A.-based hardcore rap-rock band Downset returned to the stage last year after breaking up in 2009. And now only a year after reuniting and hitting the stage again, the band has released its first album in a decade. And it is quite the return for the band. Right off the top, the band proves it is as strong as ever. The album’s opener and title track is a blatant declaration that Downset is back. And it’s not the only powerful statement from the band, either. ‘Champion’ is just as strong of a statement from the band early on in the album. If that isn’t enough for audiences, the social statement that is ‘Who’s Tripp’n’ is a doubly hard-hitting piece both for its musical side and for the statement made through its lyrics. These songs are but a fraction of what Downset offers audiences on its return. There are nine other tracks on this disc from which audiences can choose their favorite(s). Those tracks alongside the pieces noted here make One Blood a solid return for Downset.
Downset makes one heck of a statement right off the bat on its new album. Being that roughly ten years have passed since the band released its last full length studio effort, the band made certain with this album’s title track and opener to let audiences know that it is back with a vengeance. Front man Rey Oropeza writes of the band’s return in the song, “The dream will never fold up/Rebirth of the vision/That awoke us/Uprising side by side again/Building ain’t lost that feeling/Believing the new dawn/True bonds add on/Chain of strength/Tribal solid steel stand strong/Score it like the same team/The same scene/Lock and link deep/You know what I mean?” That declaration set against the song’s pounding musical backing makes for quite the powerful reintroduction for one of the bigger names in the underground hard rock realm.
‘One Blood’ is a powerful reintroduction for Downset after what can supposedly now be called the band’s extended hiatus. It isn’t the album’s only high point, either. The equally hard edged ‘Champion’ is certain to impress the band’s long-time fans. Drummer Chris Hamilton’s drum fill is the driving force behind this song. And the positive message contained in the song’s chorus will have fans screaming along proudly. The band screams in the song’s chorus, “When we reach the corner/We emerge to astonished eyes/If you can’t touch the sky/Then why should I/You wait for the perfect moment/To turn the tide/Break through the pressure and pain…Champion.” It proves to be one of those songs centered on the power of self-determination. Yet again, it serves as more proof of the value of hard rock. Any song that can help to empower a listener to be strong is a positive at least in the eyes on this critic. That being the case, it makes ‘Champion’ one of the highest of highs on this record.
Downset has come back with quite a bit of power and substance on its reintroduction to the world. That has already been evidenced through the songs noted above. There is at least one more example of that power in substance late in the album in the form of the song ‘Who’s Tripp’n.’ The song is a social commentary in which Oropeza writes about the state of certain communities across America. He seems to be writing in this song about what has happened to said communities in terms of the growth of gang populations, racial profiling and more. The song clocks in at just under three and a half minutes in length. But it hardly feels that long when one really takes in the song for both its thought provoking lyrics and equally pounding musical accompaniment. That is meant in the most complimentary of manners. It shows how easily the song engages audiences and keeps their ears and minds throughout the course of the song. Yet again here audiences have proof that Downset means business on its new album. It is one more reason that any of the band’s audiences new and old alike will want to check out this album. And along with the remaining songs not noted here, One Blood proves to be quite the solid listen for both fans of Downset and of the hardcore and rap-rock scenes alike.
Downset is currently touring in support of One Blood. Audiences can keep up with the band’s latest updates and news from the road online now via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DownsetLA and via Twitter at http://twitter.com/@DownsetLA. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.