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The Casualties - Resistance (Season of Mist Records)

By: David E. Gehlke

[7.5/10] Punk, as a whole, is generally considered null and void by most in the metal scene. Actually, let’s rephrase that – it’s worthless to the arrogant, prickly sector who can’t stand the sound of three-chord pounding and “Oi!” shouts. (Blistering is arrogant and prickly, so perhaps we fall into that category.) Granted punk has had a profound influence on metal, especially the 80’s thrash bands, but the sound is largely tired and stale, with little or no fresh ideas being brought to the table. And then there’s pop punk, which is a whole ‘nother story. Punk just can’t win with this crowd.

The Casualties, however, are the right band to be angled toward the metal audience. The long-running New York punks have largely stayed close to the metal side of the fence, creating a furious punk-metal crossbreed on Resistance that is surprisingly, the best of both words. The gang chants and lyrical themes are total punk, yet the aggression and occasional bout of thrashy heaviness is applicable to metal. Beyond that, there’s not a trace of bottom-of-the-barrel three-chord riffing and faux postering. It’s just one pissed-off album.

Coming in at a hefty 16 tracks, Resistance wastes no time in letting things rip with opener “My Blood, My Life, Always Forward” which has enough blistering gang vocals to chime with the sweaty pile-on crowd. From there, the pushy “Behind Barbed Wire,” anthemic “South East Asian Rebels” (more cool gang vox) and brazen album highlight “It’s Coming Down On You” toe the thin line between the aforementioned parties, with the main separator being vocalist Jorge Herrera and his saliva-spewing tactics. Dude is pissed-on-10 pretty much the entire album.

Once past the surprise and minor shock these guys are on Season of Mist (this would have been unthinkable a decade ago), The Casualties prove to be well-equipped to run with the dogs in the metal scene. The appeal of Resistance might not be able to stretch beyond its core audience, yet it serves as a caustic reminder that when played right, punk isn’t all that bad.

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