I am ashamed to say that I always overlooked The Casualties. I think I used to see them as an American cartoon version of my fave homegrown bands. More fool me! These New Yorkers don’t give a fuck about the punk police or what’s hip. Chaos Sound their 10th Full length has 14 slabs of punk rock fury guaranteed to kick start 2016 whilst kicking you in the goolies.
The band have been sticking their collective middle fingers (they are American after all) up at the world since 1990 and have maintained the current line up since 1995 – no mean feat these days.
If you like your punk with liberty spikes, leather and bristles and strong cider then, like me, you are gonna love this fucker! This is angry rebellion with a drunken grin from beginning to end. All the attack of the Exploited and GBH with some singalong bits that the Ramones or Rancid would be proud of.
Chaos Sound opens with an operatic falsetto intro – no clue why. Then the Chaos Sound begins with the title track. Full pelt punk rock. Galloping riffs and Jorge Herrera’s venomous vocals spat over the top. Jake Kolatis spirals his guitar in and out of the melee like Big John used to and Mr Stigma still does. There is a definite NYHC tinge to some of the riffs and backbeats but the feel is undoubtedly old skool UKHC in its original vernacular. “Visions of Greed” takes on the usual whipping boys of punk – posh politicos – and this is probably more important now than it was in ’82.
“Running Through the Night” is a punk / Oi anthem in the vein of the Rejects and deserves a drunken singalong. (It is at this point in the album I am double slapping myself for not listening to this band earlier). Every good punk album needs a call to arms – especially one from Noo York. Brothers and Sisters is that rallying cry to the bostik crew and it is a damn fine one and deposits me grinning into the moshpit that is “Murder Us All”. Pure NYHC brutality mixed with Edinburgh’s finest – think UK 82 meets Riot Riot Upstart. I remind myself never to listen to this whilst driving or I will be cursing my rebellion on a pesky speed awareness course.
Typing this on the 2nd of January with the work year looming large “Work our lives Away” is pretty apt and allows me a juvenile moan at “the man” aged 42. Cheers! “Countdown to Tomorrow” has an intro worthy of Sabaton but soon descends into a whirling dervish of hardcore malevolence even with a beatdown to get the spiky elbows really jabbing jaws in the pits.
The Casualties have been around long enough in the New York scene to have seen a lot of coming and going and unsurprisingly found themselves out of fashion with the great and the good of the scene. “In the Lost City” is a lament to a dying scene which has no room for them. Let’s hope that ain’t so coz there should always be room for pissed off kids (including “grown up “ kids) with spiky hair and a head full of rebellion . “Bomb Blast” with it’s opening shout of World War three shows how little has changed since Wattie sang about needing War in the early 80’s.
Lemmy has left the building so the fact that The Casualties have covered Motorheads tribute to Noo Yorks most famous bruddas is timely and a damn fine rip though R.A.M.O.N.E.S.
There is not a bad track on this collection. “United Streets” brings the 14 tracks to a chaotic crescendo with a gang vocal and I am left with a massive grin on me boat race (as the fake cockney punks on postcards may have said). Up the Punx
(8/10 Matt Mason)