Have you ever heard an album so good you thought it was made just for you? Like someone reached into the great boombox in your brain and pulled out just what you wanted to hear? Well, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Rise Records) by Teenage Time Killers is that album for me. If you have yearned for some new tunes to come along and kick your ass back to 1988, then this music is for you. Masterminded by Mick Murphy (My Ruin, and Reed Mullen (Corrosion of Conformity), the core band is rounded out by the ubiquitous Dave Grohl and chipping in everything except lead vocals and Greg Anderson (Sunn O)))/Goatsnake) and his mighty axe. In addition to a cavalcade of former and current stars from across punk and metal, it’s an ambitious attempt to turn the idea of a supergroup on its head.
Certainly, a lot of hype has gone on about the assembled players, especially the vocalists. If you re thinking of Grohl’s Probot project, you are not far off. That was Grohl paying tribute to his metal heroes. TTK is all about paying tribute to a certain mindset. An era when writing fun, smart songs that hit you where you live was the norm. Mullen has put his distinctive angry yelp on many C.O.C. albums and does a fine job here on the opening track ‘Exploder’ and on ‘The Dead Hand’. ‘Exploder’ is just a classic punk track with all the whoa-oh-ohs you can handle. Second track ‘Crowned by the Light of The Sun’ sounds like an early-era Clutch song and thus Neil Fallon is right at home singing over some stone grooves. The most blistering track here is the thrash/punk ‘Hung Out To Dry’. Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) just slays the track with his parts.
Following these first salvos the rest of the album is a tad uneven in a few places, but on repeated listens the entire thing holds together well. Jello Biafra is predictably pissed off in the too-short ‘Ode to Hannity’. ‘Barrio’ featuring Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio/Blink 182 has the second-best track on the album. It’s another fun old-school sing-a-long that is both fun and political. Mike IX (EyeHateGod), Tommy Victor (Prong/Danzig) and Tairrie B. Murphy (My Ruin) anchor the three of the remaining real standout tracks. While it’s great to have an album in 2015 with Lee Ving (Fear), Karl Agel (COC Blind/King Hitter) and Phil Rind (Sacred Reich) altogether, at times you wish the tracks were a little stronger. Although a little short of total greatness for all the meaningful names, Teenage Time Killers backed up having the stones to call this album Greatest Hits Vol 1.