Review DOWNSET ‘Maintain’

It was in the mid-80s when a band called Social Justice started in Los Angeles, California. Social Justice was the predecessor of Downset. The renamed band premiered in 1994 with the ‘downset.’ album and the debut contains with ‘Anger!’ a great crossover hymn that paved the way for the success of the sophomore longplayer ‘Do We Speak a Dead Language?’.

After having unleashed their third album, ‘Check Your People’ Downset couldn’t continue their streak of success in the fields of crossover metal and line-up changes didn’t support either.

Although having released two more longplayer, the band couldn’t get close to the furious first three longplayers and therefor the expectation hasn’t been sky-high when receiving the information of Downset having a new record ready to go. What created a certain interest though was, that the band release the album through Nuclear Blast and after having had a first listen to the 12 songs, it became apparent why that label signed the band.

‘Maintain’ is the title of Downset’s new album which is real blast. The positive surprise is that Downset can connect to the early days. The guys maintain the spirit of the early ‘90s and transport it into 2022. Downset belong to the pioneers of a genre that blends hardcore, metal and hip-hop. The result of the musical melting pot is music with an extreme groove-factor and the hard riffs. Combined with meaningful lyrics about social life and politic, the band has something to say. And unforgotten is the ‘Food for Fun’ Campaign from 1996.

The first loud signal of ‘Maintain’ becoming a great album was the single release of ‘Place to Be’. What a riff that kicks-off this monster track. An irresistible groove and slower pace make the song massive crossover anthem and it’s not the only one on the album.

The title track marks the starting point of the new longplayer, and it is a direction-giving one. A mighty beat, roaring guitars and a massive groove is what gets out of the speakers and invites for jumping around. The good thing is, that the quality of songs is consistent through-out. The album doesn’t know a real weak spot and tunes like ‘New Respect’ and ‘Wreck It’, the latter with a strong bass-intro, belong the best Downset has released in decades. With ‘Positive Energy’ Downset has Prophets Of Rage-reminding song on the tracklist, something that doesn’t surprise knowing that Downset and the legendary Rage Against The Machine started about the same time.

‘Maintain’ is an album with many wow-moments. I really like the first three longplayers of the band and seeing Downset back with full power is a very good signal. Hopefully ‘Maintain’ is the beginning of a thrilling next era of a band that plays an important role in crossover metal.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Maintain
  2. Blackest Of Days
  3. New Respect
  4. Won’t Forget
  5. Wreck It
  6. On Lock (Only the Defest)
  7. The Place to Be
  8. Your Power
  9. Positive Mind
  10. Hear Me Now
  11. Deeper
  12. Ready For This

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Crossover

Release Date EU: June 20th, 2022

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