Off!

Wasted Years (Vice)

Phases & Stages

Early into Wasted Years' 16 songs in 23 minutes, Keith Morris snarls, "Angry for the rest of your life/ There's no easy escape." That's every note decimated by the L.A. foursome during five years of hardcore protest. Behind the nearly 60-year-old dynamo at the mic, frothing at the mouth since founding stints in Black Flag and Circle Jerks, an all-star ensemble goes Off!: guitarist/producer Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), bassist Steven McDonald (Redd Kross), and drum locomotive Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From the Crypt, Earthless). Analog tape thickens America's best punk band into an upward curve on its third LP, anthems "All I Can Grab" and "Void You Out" unleashing the most brutal riff-rock this side of Motörhead. Morris' lyrical fury hones a razor's edge of fast-flying images, including "It Didn't Matter to Me," the hardest-rocking AA confession ever written: "Drown out/ Fall down plastered/ Toss off two fifths after stealing booze from a secret place/ My brain's on mind erase." Summation of America's political landscape ("Void You Out"): "Parasite cowards/ Take over the host/ Lunatic fringe/ Will be a ghost." Conviction rocks like murder. (Off! detonates at Mohawk Saturday, August 9.)

***

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