After breaking out with their 2002 LP, Burn It Black, Atlanta rockers Injected seemed to be on top of the world. Led by the charismatic combo of frontman Danny Grady and lead guitarist Jade Lemons, the album was lightning in a bottle, deftly capturing the group’s explosive brand of dynamic hard rock, and producing a radio hit in the form of swaggering lead single “Faithless.” The band soon found themselves touring with the likes of stoner rock legends Fu Manchu, and contributing to major movie soundtracks such as Spiderman and The Fast and the Furious. Just a few months after the album’s release, Injected was tapped to co-headline MTV’s Campus Invasion Tour, which placed the band in front of tens of thousands each night. Increasingly, it felt like the group was on the verge of cashing in and crossing over into mainstream success.
By the end of the year, however, any momentum Injected had gained ground to halt when Lemons decided to leave the group. Although they never officially announced their dissolution, the loss of such a critical member effectively ended the group’s impressive run. Rather than seeking out a replacement or forging on as a trio, the remaining members parted ways, and Injected was seemingly no more.
Over the years, there were occasional rumors of a possible reunion, but with the sole exception of a one-song performance at 500 Songs For Kids in 2009 (the group covered the Cheap Trick classic “I Want You to Want Me” at Smith’s Olde Bar), nothing ever came to fruition. Then, when Lemons passed away tragically in 2016, it appeared to shut the door on any possibility the mercurial rockers would ever return.
And yet, here we are. 15 years after the release of Burn It Black, Grady has managed to pull Injected back from the brink, delivering a new LP that somehow possesses all the raw power and swagger that once made the group so formidable. Filled to the brim with fist-pumping riffs and shout-along choruses, The Truth About You is ten tracks of catchy and confident hard rock that crackles with livewire energy. You can credit much of that intensity to engineer/drummer Kyle Spence (Harvey Milk, J. Mascis, Kurt Vile) whose thunderous drumming serves as the perfect complement to Grady’s urgent vocals and hard-charging guitar work.
Then, of course, there is Lemons’ indomitable spirit which permeates much of The Truth About You. This includes the artwork — aside from the eerie cover photo shot by Australian photographer Samantha Everton, the rest of the album’s packaging is black in honor of the departed guitarist — but, more importantly, the music. Prior to his death, Lemons joined Grady in tracking the LP, and it was his passing that ultimately pushed the frontman to put the LP out into the world.
Still, make no mistake: this is Grady’s show. In addition to handling all the guitars, bass, keyboards, and vocals on the recording, he also produced the record, ensuring that the final product would be instantly recognizable to the band’s longtime fans, while also pushing Injected’s sound in new directions. The end result is a record that straddles the line between giddy nostalgia and a remarkable freshness that most comeback efforts fail to capture. Is it timely or of the moment? Certainly not. But that’s not the point. Injected have returned with an album that sounds organic and spontaneous, one that remains true to the band’s legacy while also projecting a potential path forward. And that, I’m sure, is more than anyone could have asked or hoped for.
The Truth About You is out tomorrow, June 2, via Slush Fund.