Review: Jerry A. Lang ‘From The Fire Into The Water’

Poison Idea, you know them well, formed in 1980 in Portland, Oregon, they went on to inspire and influence legions of bands including Melvins, Pantera, Machine Head, Nirvana and ‘hilarious’ punk pranksters NOFX. Feel The Darkness is rightly regarded as one of the most important hardcore punk records of all time with its iconic Tiny Tim album cover and heavier metallic influences.

Jerry A. 'From The Fire Into The Water'

The band were dealt a severe blow back in 2006 when guitarist Tom ‘Pig Champion’ Roberts passed away, but they persevered and released one last album Confuse And Conquer on the Southern Lord label. Since then, former frontman Jerry A. (Jerry Lang) has kept himself busy with numerous projects including this, From The Fire Into The Water, his latest album. The artwork may feature a slick-looking Jerry brandishing a cocktail glass, however, don’t go expecting a crooning Dean Martin/Sinatra affair, he also describes it as a rebirth rather than a restart.

That’s My Music is a slinky cool rock ‘n’ roll number that draws comparisons with The Blasters and X but given a cynical ironic twist that only Jerry can provide. A fun upbeat start to the record. Psychedelic Nightmare sounds exactly like its title, a murky combo of The Cramps, The Birthday Party and underrated grunge pioneers The U-Men. Could one get any better than that? I think not and it’s delivered so effortlessly that it doesn’t feel like a pastiche. From there we get the thrash metal-tinged Black Cat, akin to early Metallica and Anthrax, back when those bands were still putting out important records while Late Night feels like a drôle take on The Cars, the vocals especially recalling the late Benjamin Orr’s.

Get Out is a slamming New York hardcore style bruiser in the vein of Killing Time and Breakdown while Ladybird by comparison is a beautiful Americana duet with Jenny Don’t and the Spurs. Jerry‘s vocals here are particularly rich, coming off like the late, great Lee Hazlewood to Jenny‘s Nancy Sinatra. The Blade sees Lang teaming up with Aussies the Hard-Ons who famously collaborated with Henry Rollins back in the early ‘90s and coincidentally there is a latter period Black Flag noise-rock vibe going down. Pretty darn sweet if you miss Hank doing what he does best.

It’s fantastic but I wouldn’t have expected anything less from someone of Jerry A’s calibre…

Hole In The Wall hints at Lang‘s past with some straightforward yet effective punk-metal goodness and The Butcher is a deliciously nasty Antiseen/GG Allin type number, it’s ferocious and guaranteed to get the kids going ape shit in the pit come showtime. Darling Raven has a funky EBM/industrial thing going on, not a genre you’d associate with Lang, but it works curiously enough. I Hate the Blues is a mournful er, blues number that further demonstrates the sheer variety of styles on the album, meanwhile Fatigue ventures into late ‘70s post-punk territory like a faster Joy Division. Icy cold and suiting the freezing conditions that are enveloping the UK at present.

Alone And Gone, like Hole In The Wall, is a ripping Poison Idea Pick Your King style track and leaves you with a grateful ass kicking. And Then There’s Whisky is a shockingly convincing slab of Tom Waits style fucked up weirdness, think Heartattack And Vine. The Art Of The Steal is (possibly) a pointed barb at Donald Trump’s book The Art Of The Deal and brings the album to a rip-roaring conclusion.

If I hadn’t already submitted my 2022 Top Ten to The Shaman, From The Fire Into The Water would be on it. It’s fantastic but I wouldn’t have expected anything less from someone of Jerry A‘s calibre. Recommended.

Label: American Leather Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills