*This review was composed by Brandon Allin and edited by Erik van Rheenen
The term “supergroup” is a difficult one to define, and a name that oftentimes gets awarded far too prematurely. Multitudes of acts have popped up, each spouting different credentials and featuring members of more established outfits, but few manage to really impress, at least in a way that both justifies the hype and also leaves fans’ taste buds tingling for more.
In 2002, the world witnessed the birth of the Transplants, a rap-punk trio made up of famed Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, Blink-182 superstar Travis Barker, and longtime friend, vocalist “Skinhead Rob” Aston. On the strength of two hit singles, “D.J. D.J.” and “Diamonds and Guns,” the cutting-edge three-piece made waves, catering to different audiences and niches with their genre-spanning hybrid of angst-driven rap and adrenaline-fueled punk rock.
Following a pair of hiatuses, a forgettable sophomore release (2005’s Haunted Cities), and a plethora of distractions rearing their heads surrounding the members’ projects, the Transplants have returned, eight years later. In A Warzone, the aptly-titled third full-length from the Los Angeles, California-based trio, features twelve tracks and all the trademark Transplants characteristics fans have come to expect, a welcome breath of fresh air following its largely uneven predecessor.
The album’s lead number and title track, “In A Warzone,” is a frantic, politically-charged number that feels more like an early Rancid cut than anything, but stands as a passable opener all the same. “See It To Believe It” makes excellent use of Armstrong’s imperfect croon and Aston’s scattershot lyricism, resulting in one of the band’s most infectious tracks to date. “Come Around,” a breezier, more pop-tinged cut, allows fans to digest a different side of the band, proving a refreshing breather in Warzone’s early stages.