By Aaron J. Marko
Damage Stories is the best Black Flag album never released.
True, Rebuild/Repair’s ancillary influences of metal shine through brightly in moments of hair metal clarity. As the twin guitar leads of “Pieces, Destroyed” fly like the fuck-yous they are to both the metal and the punk establishments, you get the sense the band is gleefully toying with you.
But Damage Stories is greater than that, summoning the progressive Ginn-isms of My War and the throaty rasp of Henry Rollins. Yet, the band is far from slavish imitators. Admittedly they wear their influences on their sleeves, but fans of progressive, forward-thinking punk also have plenty to take in. Rebuild/Repair aren’t afraid to invoke the post-metal of ISIS in the same breath as Iron Maiden. There’s a certain pastiche quality that works more often than not as the band whips frantically from moment to moment, threatening to fall apart. In spite of itself, Damage Stories maintains a cohesive whole. Despite the mélange of influences they effectively subvert the three-chord expectation with a focus on complex, heady song craft.
With an uncompromising creative vision, Rebuild/Repair is a band that will certainly divide listeners. The abstract musicianship may feel too esoteric at times. And though the band’s mix of influences certainly mixes well together, the constant shifts can occasionally feel fatiguing. However, the end result is a thoughtful, compelling experience and one well worth engaging.
Kudos to this Edmonton band.Damage Stories, Rebuild/Repair