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Jason Gardner 09/19/12 03:53 AM

The Casualties - Resistance
The Casualties - Resistance
Record Label: Season of Mist
Release Date: September 25, 2012

The Casualties have been around long enough to know what it takes to write a strong, engaging punk album. After putting out their last record on Side One Dummy in 2009, this time the band has switched over to Season of Mist and ended up going to work at Planet Z with Zuess – a pairing as perhaps unforeseen as As I Lay Dying going with Bill Stevenson. Yet perhaps a bit less surprising, the punk quartet sound as if the writing and message they bring to the table has been rejuvenated in a sense. No, this is still very much a punk album at heart with political and social commentary via Jorge Herrera’s accentuated growl punching through catchy riffs and gang chants galore. But there’s something a touch different about their message of resistance on the aptly named, well, Resistance. While I wouldn’t argue they are bound to gain a new following of fans, their new LP certainly upholds the idea that a renewed state of mind from the band, bringing us another strong batch of jams that feel more like anthems than repetitive hammering of a topic.

Setting the tone with an upbeat yet gripping opener in “My Blood - My Life - Always Forward”, you’ll likely to notice a slightly sharper tone to the proceedings of Resistance. The three-bar riff here also makes for a bit of a switch up, giving us the feeling that while this record sounds and feels punk, it doesn’t always act quite the same way. Though punk at heart, there’s moments where this can feel like a hardcore record or a homage to a band like Motorhead (“Warriors on the Road”) that keep this album from running stale in four-chord stasis. “Morality Police” slices with a well-played solo to kick things off, repositioning the energy into a procession of chant-backed dual-melody battles between guitar and voice. It’s an attention grabbing moment in the chorus that pops up here and there throughout the album, helping drive things forward where at other points the album might suffer. Simply said though, there’s enough to the band’s construction of punk rock this time around to keep you interested if you’re down with Herrera’s very characteristic vocal style and the band’s sonic foundation.

While not entirely formulaic though, Resistance has its leanings and misses, a combination of bringing back ideas a bit too often and simply misfiring on occasion. The gang vocals literally find their way into every song, and while sometimes they certainly accentuate the moment (“My Blood”) or provide a welcome ying to Herrera’s vocal yang (“It’s Coming Down on You”, “Brick Wall Justice”), other times they seem a bit more like an afterthought. The lyrically pushing “South East Asian Rebel” does enough to stay afloat, but never really does much to really jump out like other tracks on the album – such as the slightly less energetic but still catchy riffs of “Corazones Intoxicados”, which reintroduces the ideals of taking tracks into Herrera’s ancestral language of Spanish. It’s a tough road to travel when you’re not really doing huge things to change your sound, but you can’t really fault a band like The Casualties, who at this point would kind of be foolish to try and truly flip the switch on something like that.

All in all though, Resistance carries the flag of its preceding markers in The Casualties’ discography. True to both the band’s message and sound while still managing to keep us on our heels, Resistance has its ups and downs – but manages to be convincing, cohesive and somehow catchy through the process.

VinylNoob88 09/23/12 01:49 PM

I have faith in The Casualties but it's all too easy for bands of this genre to just be phoning it in and re-hashing their back catalog under a new album title. Awesome band. Massively influential of the genre. Fuckin' Casualties Army!