The Blamed – Twenty21


Punk rock legends The Blamed have gone back and re-recorded their classic album 21, adding new life to the songs.

Very simply, The Blamed is a hardcore punk band from Northern California that ended up in Chicago when Bryan Gray moved.  In the early days, the band was part of the Gilman Street culture and was one of the early bands signed to Tooth and Nail Records where I first heard them on the Helpless Amongst Friends, vol. 1 compilation which came out in 1994.  The members of The Blamed represent some of the legendary bands in the Christian music scene that were good enough to cross over into the various mainstream music scenes and really opened the door for other great bands who happened to have a Christian worldview. Included in this list of bands members of The Blamed have been in are  Left Out, Headnoise, The Crucified, Deliverance, Mortal, and Living Sacrifice just to name a few, which also covers punk to thrash to death metal to industrial.

According to Bryan Gray (speaking to Heavens Metal Magazine), the original plan for this album was to do the rerecording and release it in 2021, but his sickness and life in general got in the way, so now the rerecording is coming out on the 30th anniversary of the original album.  Part of the motivation was to be able to have a way for fans to have a version of the album on vinyl and breathe some new life into the songs. From the outset, I was a little suspicious of how much better the songs could be, but when you listen to the original compared to this rerecording, the difference is clear as night and day.  This rerecording truly does justice to the songs, making the original more of like a demo version.  In general, I’m not a fan of The Blamed but do acknowledge their sizable contribution to what was the “underground” Christian music scene and I know there are still a lot of fans out there. Looking back, if they had sounded this good back in 1994, I might have been more of a fan.

Twenty21 would be a great introduction to The Blamed.  More mid-tempo songs like “Abuse” with its gang vocals and strained, shouted vocals still resonate and the tempo shifts in the song keep it interesting. “Help Yourself” adopts what could be called a traditional hardcore style with a fast opening that slows to what has become the precursor to the breakdowns heard in metalcore bands, only to finish at breakneck speed. “Testimony”, “Drunk”, and “Separation continue in the hardcore punk vein with fast guitars, gang vocals, and driving rhythms and do showcase some great bass lines from Sid Duffour along the way. Jim Chaffin’s drums shine through much they do on every record I’ve heard him play on, even slipping in some double bass drumming from time to time which is not so common in hardcore punk but certainly appreciated.

The feedback drenched opening to “Rainbow” suggest the song is going in a much different direction than it does and it ends up more along the lines of a melodic mid-90’s alternative style.  As one might imagine, that is mostly an interlude and Sid Duffour’s bass opens up the next track “3am” which with its punk rock fury is about as far from “Rainbow” as you could be.  Jim Chaffin gets the speed going on the drums in “God is Alive” and the album closes with “TBOTB” one of my favorite tracks on the album.  The combination of the feedback over the bass and drums and the spoken and shouted vocals, is just brilliant.

When bands re-record albums, sometimes the result just doesn’t live up to expectations and I’m sure there will be a number of fans of the original 21 who feel this way, but for me, this rerecording has brought new life to these songs and to an album I likely would never have listened to otherwise. 

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson


  1. Abuse
  2. Help Yourself
  3. Testimony
  4. Drunk
  5. Separation
  6. A State Of
  7. From Me to You
  8. Rainbow
  9. 3am
  10. God is Alive
  11. Walkabout
  12. TBOTB

Release Date:

Record Label: The Charon Collective, 2024

Band Members
Jeff Locke – vocals
Sid Duffour – bass
Jim Chaffin – drums
Bryan Gray – guitars

Social Media: Facebook / Bandcamp

Video for “Abuse”

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