The Casualties reflect the current state of punk rock:
image-obsessed, generic and insincere. Their new album, On the
Front Line
, regurgitates the same formula as their predecessors
Crass, DRI and Naked Aggression but lacks the conviction and vigor
that made these bands great. On the Front Line is little
more than a front to showcase their true achievement —
18-inch mohawks.

All the time spent cultivating their image should have been
invested in shaping their lyrical capabilities, as they have not
evolved since From the Punx. This album secured them a place
in the punk rock scene despite their uninspired choice of titles
such as “Punk Rock Love,” “Punx and Skins”
and “Chaos Punx.” It illuminated the hardcore streak in
a band that was not afraid to misspell “punks” and look
like hybrids of circus clowns and Robocop.

Here their lyrical prowess ranges from diatribes against the
rich, the government and the police to drinking 40s and of course,
charging their gravity-defying hair. No explanations are granted
for this abstract loathing of authority besides “Shot and
beaten is the way of man / Tortured and knifed who will next? /
Worked to death by the ones you respect / Hate and death and
war.” The only advice The Casualties have for rebelling
against “the man” is to conform to another system
— to be different like them.

The lyrics aren’t of much importance, as they are, for the
most part, indecipherable. Jorge’s raspy voice sounds like
that of an emphysema patient who just inhaled an entire pack of
Marlboro Red’s. This prompts one to wonder when punk rock
credibility began to be correlated with how unlistenable an album
is. Each two-minute song presents the hasty compilation of
Jorge’s wretched screaming laced with the same racy guitar
hook and innocuous drum beat.

In the end, bands like this can only be blamed of misdirected
admiration for a scene that was once brimming with raw talent and
something worth rebelling against. It doesn’t help that Jorge
reminds us of his glaring inferiority when he wheezes, “Bring
back the old days of the Ramones.”

Review: 0.5 out of 5 stars

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