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At their best, Downtread is dark, urgent and uplifting at the same time. On the latest leg of their ongoing journey, their new album Stand Your Ground, the Minneapolis band doesn’t just arrive quietly. It kicks down the damn door. Through 10 hook-laden tracks, the album shows Downtread brandishing ripping guitars, rugged vocals and swing-for-the-fences drumming. But behind all the fire and brimstone, the group demonstrates a knack for lean, well-crafted songs – perfectly balancing mayhem and melody.

The alchemy is on full display on the provocative title track “Stand Your Ground,” and the stadium-chant-worthy tandem “Silent Location” and “Don’t Get Weak.” The band is no stranger to the road, and they relish the opportunity to connect with fans, and share the real meaning behind the unintentionally provocative title of their second album. Days before the release of Stand Your Ground, the album’s title phrase grabbed headlines around the country following a tragic shooting in Florida. Thousands of copies had been manufactured, and there was no reason to segue away from the inspiration that coined the album title.

Produced, engineered and mixed by Jeremy Tappero, Stand Your Ground is a locally grown Minnesota product: you can hear Downtread’s home-turf swagger fueling the recording sessions at Pound Sound Studios in St. Paul, and Greg Reierson nicely wrangles the savage beast during mastering sessions at Rare Form Mastering in Minneapolis.

One song on Stand Your Ground seems to epitomize the collaboration: “I Told You” features a string arrangement by the band’s good friend Joel Kosche (solo artist and lead guitarist for Collective Soul), perfectly ensconced in an epic-scale sonic landscape. Stand Your Ground shows Downtread’s sound growing and deepening since the 2010 debut album, 144. With a second album on the street, touring plans are constantly in motion, and the commitment to build an audience one fan at a time. With the quintet on the march, do yourself a favor and heed the boot steps.