Through the Darkness was D Generation’s last gasp, and it sounds like they knew it. From the opening “Na na na na na” of the earth-shattering first track, “Helpless,” up until “Cornered,” almost at the end of the album, Through the Darkness slams you upside and downside the head with full-throttle rock, and then some more full-throttle rock.
Maybe a little too much rock. Sustaining the breakneck pace established by the opening trio of “Helpless,” “Every Mothers Son,” and “Hatred” would be an almost impossible task for anybody–even the almighty Clash took a break on their classic UK debut for “Police and Thieves,” and Ramones lightened things up with a cover of “Let’s Dance,” and albums don’t get more breakneckedly paced than those two.
It’s hard for me to fault the boys for trying, though. Try, they do, and a valiant effort it is (and Yoda I am). But would one power ballad have killed you? (Did I just write that?)
There’s lots of great stuff here, though, and even if this ramshackle album doesn’t quite hold together, it’s well worth the damage it will do to your eardrums. Songs with titles like “Sick on the Radio” live up to their names. By the time you get to “Cornered,” that’s exactly how you’ll feel.
The album ends with a cover of Neil Young’s “Don’t be Denied,” from the great and lost Time Fades Away album, proving D Generation’s record-geek bona fides. Then, after one of those long pauses that everyone thought was so damned cute in the ’90s, comes a slow, sad, untitled bonus track (probably called “Violent Love”). Although I doubt many suspected it at the time, the two songs together were a preview of Jesse Malin’s future as a Neil Young-worshiping singer-songwriter with most traces of the punk-metal ball-kicker buried deep if there at all.
That’s not intended as an insult to Malin’s solo career (about which more later)–I have all of his albums. It’s just a dramatic change, and, exhausting as Through the Darkness is, he probably needed one. However, revisiting D Generation for this series of posts does make me wish that he would get a wild hair up his ass at some point in the future and decide to stave in my face with his black boots of combat one more time.
Apparently there was a D Generation reunion show in April of this year. Hope?
Here’s “Helpless,” most assuredly not the Neil Young song (which Malin does cover solo). I put this up on YouTube a little while back in preparation for this series of posts. The second commenter wrote “this song is fuckin mint.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
(Update: My upload got yanked by folks who don’t like me promoting their own bands, so I’ve subbed the only available version which features gratuitous Japanimation.)
Posts in this series below the fold.
Album Review: D Generation – Through the Darkness (this post)