London rock quartet Damn Vandals’ firecracker of a single, “Mad as Hell”, inspires notes of pop buoyancy and calls to mind rock n’ roll at its best; both fun and thunderous. “Mad as Hell”, primal in its approach and clean in its execution, provides a thrumming bass-line and firecracker riff made for joyous clash-dancing. Lead vocalist Jack Kansas’ adrenaline-laced growl makes the hook particularly addictive.
Their rambunctious war cry, “He is as mad as hell now, he’s ain’t gonna take it anymore,” puts the bite into back into revival-rock with its subtle garage-punk edge. The rhythm section serves as backbone, its fills revealing a more traditional variation, well-paced and familiar.
The lyrical narrative outlines a breaking point with a classically constructed narrative arches, sandwiched between strong, pillar-like choruses.
Damn Vandals reach a delicate compromise with “Mad as Hell”; the sound is everything we have come to understand about rock n’ roll, while offering something newer. “Mad as Hell” conjures a kick reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age à la Songs for the Deaf, but with a rounded, fulfilling snarl.
The lyrics are particularly aligned with the rock narrative; resisting, banging at our door to be heard, rebelling all the more. “Mad as Hell” offers a symmetricality, from first riff to fade-out, that sonically appeases event the most critical of listeners- it transports you to a rowdy club where there are probably mild pyrotechnics.
Everyone is wearing a leather jacket and shouting. Your fist is raised, too.