Is it possible that Defiance's second album is even more visceral, scathing, and angry than their classic 1995 debut 'No Future No Hope'? Well, listening to Punk Core's reissue of this 2000 beauty and examining the biting, socio-politically aware lyrics, definitely is grounds for this surmise.
To wit, "Nowhere", the opening track on 'Nothing Lasts Forever', is simply brutal, featuring the gloriously treasonous lines, "Poverty and suffering is brought on by your fucking country/A country I won't support/A flag I fucking hate/A nation I despise, so fly your flag/And I'll fucking burn it." Oh my. And from here on in, it's just one scorching anthem after another. No doubt these guys have some of the most incendiary messages around. And that's to say nothing about the equally riotous music, which is sheer, raving, urgent streetpunk bliss. Defiance put a great emphasis on the bludgeoning, heavy rhythm section - just listen to those drums on "Nothing Worth Dying For"…I rest my case. Meanwhile, the exceedingly furious, incensed vocals aid in supplementing the messages that are so central to Defiance's continued relevance. And the pessimistic, downright contemptuous lyrics are inevitable - how can the band be upbeat when they're singing about all the injustices we face everyday, exposing social ills that seemingly will never cease?
The only two departures from the norm (subject-wise, not musically) are "You Don't Know", which is an attack on poseurs within the punk scene, and the one real positive offering, "Cheers". Oh and they also cover Motorhead/Girlschool's "Emergency".
In any event, a real sense of hopelessness, similar to that found on "No Future No Hope", the title track from their debut LP, is prevalent on a number of tracks like "Dead and Gone", as they shout, "What will fucking change?/Nothing at all" while musing that when they're dead and gone, "No matter what I've said and done/Everything will be the same/So why should I care, why does it matter?" This same feeling is mirrored in "Don't Want It", which features lines like, "I don't give a fuck if it all comes crumbling down/I have no faith or allegiance in your fucking system."
Yet then there are songs like "It's Never Gonna Change", which despite the disenchanted title, conveys the idea that there is a way to better our lives and to end the fact that for many people happiness in life only comes from "complete and blind acceptance," but only if we unite and fight for the same cause - freedom from oppression and to see the system "fall to its knees." Thus, this song acts like a rallying cry for all of us who feel the same way and want to precipitate change once and for all. Likewise, the phenomenal, foreboding finale, the title track, is along the same lines, warning that our corrupt system where the few in power "set the rules and control the laws" that "only benefits their rights and privileges" while they "exploit the poor" will eventually come to an end, because as these Portland, Oregon punks know, "nothing lasts forever"…