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Free or Die
Label: Sudden Death Records
Canadian hardcore punkers D.O.A. exemplify the punk ethic: learn up to three guitar chords, make the drumming fast and furious, and don’t worry about the vocals. For a change of pace, mix in a reggae or ska beat every so often. Oh, and remember to rant and rave about all thing political.
ith titles like “F---ed Up Bush” and “We Don’t Need No God D---ed War”, (the parental advisory warning is well earned on this CD) it is readily apparent which way Joe Keithley’s politics lean. His Henry Rollins/Clash style vocals are spoken/sung over a driving drum riff employed by The Great Baldini, while Dan Yaremko plays essentially the same bass line on almost every song.
“The Agony and the Ecstasy” is the right choice to lead things off, setting the tone for what is to come. There are several redone protest type political statements as well, as D.O.A. covers “Masters of War,” “Eve of Destruction,” and “Bad Moon Risin’.” D.O.A.’s take on “Masters” combines Bob Dylan’s lyrics with music that is very similar to Kinks classic “You Really Got Me.”
Several songs (“Earache,” “Fat Cat,” “Drive My Car,” “You Won’t Stand Alone”) provide what passes for variety on the album, using a ska sound to break up the run of soundalike songs. D.O.A. has been on the road for twenty-eight years, and are still angry and militant. Live Free or Die is no exception – it just makes one wonder if ranting about societal woes while offering no solutions is the mature way of dealing with things.
Brian A. Smith