Take Offense - Keep An Eye Out | Album Review

Since forming in 2005, Californian hardcore outfit Take Offense have been the lifeblood of the underground scene in their hometown of Chula Vista and beyond. In 2011 the band's politically-charged debut album Tables Will Turn saw the band's heavy blend of punk and thrash find the ears of the wider hardcore scene and suddenly their fanbase was growing. Keep an Eye Out comes as the band's third full-length album - breaking a six-year drought since their last - and marks the band's first release since signing to Pure Noise Records, joining the likes of Bearings, Can't Swim, and Counterparts.

As is to be expected from Take Offense, the energy on Keep An Eye Out is very politically charged, with all the material being heavily influenced by the volatile sociopolitical landscape that we're all living in. In a perfect preface to the album's theme, the titular opening track provides a cautionary commentary on the powers that be, their deception and the stranglehold they have on all of our lives. From the instrumentation to the production, the track is positively dripping in late 80s thrash brilliance and along with the band's existing hardcore and punk influences, the band seem to have truly found their own voice.

If you've been a fan of Take Offense for a long time, when listening to Keep an Eye Out you'll immediately notice that the band seem to have reached a new level of maturity in both their musicianship and songwriting. The issues covered on the album are tackled with a greatly increased level of tact, with the tracks often striking a perfect balance between nuance and overt. Keep an Eye Out serves to hold up a mirror to our broken society in order to examine the cracks rather than paper over them and pretend everything is fine.

Musically, the album is at a level far superior to anything the band have produced previously. To say that is not to detract from the band's previous work, but rather to highlight that the stakes have been raised even further. Keep An Eye Out marks Take Offense finding a voice that is unique to them, concentrating the band's essence into something further removed from what their contemporaries are doing. If you're not well-versed in what Take Offense do, this is the perfect record to start with – aggressive, political, and gritty until the very end.

Keep An Eye Out is either going to be exactly what you're looking for or the complete opposite. If you're looking for an honest observation of the state of our society, wrapped in a balls-to-the-wall riff-laden package then look no further because few can do it better. After a six-year interval between albums, Keep An Eye Out sees Take Offense make their return as a much more cohesive, mature, and musically impressive version of themselves, marking the next chapter in the band's journey. This album provides the perfect jumping-off point for those looking to experience the band for the first time and also for existing fans who are eager to get reacquainted.

Score: 7/10

Keep An Eye Out Is Out Now Via Pure Noise Records