Death from Above

Outrage! Is Now

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After coming back with a vengeance in 2014 on The Physical World, their second album in a decade, Death from Above don't dial down any of the intensity of 2017's Outrage! Is Now. The duo of bassist Jesse F. Keeler and drummer/singer Sebastien Grainger don't really do mellow and they don't go in for too many niceties. The album is ten songs stripped down to the basics, then blown out again with the occasional horn or piano added. Just like their other albums, basically. The spotlight is split three ways between Keeler's massive fuzz basslines, Grainger's hammer-heavy drums, and his yowling, theatrical vocals. Just like on other albums. Basically, you get what you expect with Death from Above, and this album is no different. You get energy, you get thunder, you get giant hooks, you get volume. Along with classic DFA-sounding songs like the title track, the heavy metal-hard "Nomad," and "NVR 4EVR," the duo actually do veer a little outside their usual approach. The record's poppiest moment, "Freeze Me," revolves around a cute piano loop; "Never Swim Alone" has a stomping glitter beat and sounds like a alternate-universe Def Leppard; and "All I C Is U & Me" comes about as close to a tender love song as they likely ever will (or should). "Holy Books" comes as close to Black Sabbath as they are going to as well, with a ferocious bass riff, some lightning-fast double bass drum pounding, and a spooky midsong breakdown. There is a lot of metal running through the album beneath the surface, and sometimes over the top, and that really works for the duo. They are able to get heavy without plodding. No matter how hard or metallic the riffs and beats may be, they still have a nimble touch. While The Physical World was a stunning comeback, this album cements Death from Above's place as one of the great rock bands of their era. It's a vital document to wave in front of anyone who says rock is dead, because one listen to any DFA song is enough to prove that argument DOA.

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