Teenage Time Killers – Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Album Review)

Unless the last 15 years of your life have been spent in solitary confinement, then you’ll be well aware of the fact that Dave Grohl, “the nicest guy in rock”, loves getting stuck into any project he can get involved in. This time round, it’s the turn of Teenage Time Killers, a full-on collaborative effort between some of rock and hardcore’s biggest names. Amongst the cacophony of stars to feature on Greatest Hits Vol. 1, their debut effort, are Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Alkaline Trio/Blink-182’s Matt Skiba. The record, which spans 24 songs and sees around 30 guest contributors, comes out on Friday through Rise Records. Read on for a full album review.

The record explodes into full force on opener Exploder, a mixture of sludgy bass (courtesy of Grohl), garage punk drums and full-throttle guitars which hit you in the face for all of the track’s two-minute duration. It combines harmonic backing vocals with no hold barred punk, with following track Crowned by the Light of the Sun edging towards greasy stoner rock. Clutch frontman Neil Fallon takes the vocal helm on this one, a track which slides in and out of grinding, distorted consciousness for the most part. Hung Out to Dry speeds the pace back up with math rock-flecked guitars, grisly growls and desert rock-meets-garage riffs. The verses are full-on hardcore punk, with Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe taking control in brutal fashion. It makes way for Power Outage’s bombastic intro, which sees the guitars and drums slowly crash in sync with Blast vocalist Clifford Dinsmore. “Fuck you all, brain dead sheep” he murmurs over CBGB-punk, before Ode to Hannity sees a John Cleese poem read out from start to finish. The Matt Skiba-helmed Barrio sounds rather more polished than what came before it, definitely leaning towards elements of both Alkaline Trio and Blink-182. “Privatization, globalization, in the barrio!” sings Skiba as chanted backing vocals accompany his wails. Dave Grohl’s distortion-laden bass is very much present here, as are the remnants of early Foo Fighters. Grohl is the biggest contributor to the record, with his simple basslines underpinning most songs quite nicely. Corrosion of Conformity drummer Reed Mullin makes his second appearance on the record during a gruesome, punky The Dead Hand, before Corey Taylor controls vocal duties on Egobomb (a title which undoubtedly complements Taylor’s persona). It’s a far cry from Slipknot, leaning more towards the endeavours of Taylor’s other band, Stone Sour. “Now I know I’m better than you” he declares, the song encompassing upbeat drums, eerie guitar lines and a pulsating bassline. Bailey’s Crossroads frontman Pete Stahl sings on Plank Walk, his vocals actually quite inaudible for the most part as the pounding instrumentals overpower him. The song carries an extremely DIY attitude, one which pops up quite often throughout the record.

Time to Die (which isn’t even the halfway point) features Eyehategod’s Mike IX Williams on an extremely ferocious blend of hardcore punk, grindcore (vocally) and stoner metal. “Time to die, you’re next!” declares Williams during the chorus, before Prong vocalist Tommy Victor helms Days of Degradation’s power metal. It leads straight into Clawhoof, the halfway point on the record. My Ruin’s Tarrie B Murphy takes control here, adding her name to an ever increasing list of seminal punk vocalists who make their mark on Greatest Hits Vol. 1. A classic rock-flecked solo plays the track out in raucous style, before the Lee Ving-featuring Big Money travels along the classic hardcore punk road once more. The Fear frontman’s vocals are raw and scrawny, yet they combine well with the track’s DIY style. Leadfoot’s Karl Agell appears on Devil in This House, his vocals just as inaudible as Stahl’s on Plank Walk. 14 tracks in, and the record doesn’t seem to be obeying any of the signs it received to slow down a few tracks ago. Say Goodnight to the Acolyte is one of the record’s big shots, utilizing anthemic guitars and a pounding rhythm section to accompany Sacred Reich frontman Phil Rind, whereas Ignorant People’s stoner metal-goes-hardcore slams assholes and rude individuals. Municipal Waste’s Tony Foresta controls the track here, with the record having now reached the home run phase of its 24-song duration. The classic punk rock ethos and riffs on Son of an Immigrant (featuring Johnny Weber) hark back to the days of early Green Day and late Sex Pistols, both wearing a new, modern jacket. Your Empty Soul’s sludge riffs and gritty bass, featuring Aaron Beam, precede the Vic Bondi-helmed Bleeding to Death, which is yet another balls-to-the-walls punk banger. The one track on the album to be named after the band, Teenage Time Killer, features marching band drums, whammy-guitars and a groovy bassline which ensure that it ends up standing out more than the other songs on the record. It comes and goes very quickly, with another rendition of Ode to Hannity following suit. It precedes repeat continuations of Ignorant People and Time to Die, both making way for album closer My Revenge. Its desert rock-flecked riffs and Reed Mullin-helmed vocals (for the 4th track in a row) bring the record to a somewhat explosive ending, although on the surface it does still sound like ‘just another punk song’. Grohl’s bass underpins the whole affair suitably, with his involvement really holding a lot of the songs together.

At 24 songs long, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 is perhaps a bit too long, yet you can’t fault the pulling power which natural leader Dave Grohl possesses. The record is an amalgamation of everything which made punk what it is in the first place, with vocalists from throughout the years all coming and going throughout. Although it does miss a few more big shots (Corey Taylor, Matt Skiba and Randy Blythe seem to be the only ones alongside Grohl), the record still does its best to throw all corners of rock and hardcore at you across the space of 24 songs. However, the record is still more hit and miss than hit and strike, which is a shame.


Greatest Hits Vol. 1 is out on 31 July via Rise Records.