"Ewww, their hair is too spiked, fuck them! Oh yeah, their lyrics are lame too, up the punx? What the fuck is that?" The Casualties are back, and this time all the internerd punks have little to complain about. Under Attack is one of the most solid punk rock releases of the year.
Instead of focusing on punx and doing punk-related activities (like their earlier albums), the lyrics continue in the political nature of their previous album, On the Front Line. The title track kicks things off and is a scathing indicment of the government forcing its citizens into war. "Without Warning" discusses the impending extinction of the world's oil source and has the biting line
"They don't give us an alternative if they can't make money out of it." One only has to think of the short-lived electric car to realize how true that line is. "System Failed Us Again," "Social Outcast," "V.I.P.," "No Solution No Control," "On City Streets," "Fallen Heroes," and "Down and Out" all deal with the haves and the have-nots in society and, unsurprisingly, show the haves as being phony, greedy, morally corrupt assholes while identifying with and showing compassion towards the have-nots. Inside the lyric sheet is a beautiful, heartfelt intro to "Down and Out," and the song is one of the most poetic, hair-raising songs the Casualties have written. "Great American Progress" is about all the past mistakes in American history (Indian genocide, slavery, mistreatment of Chinese, Irish, and Japanese immigrants) and progresses into a criticism of the current immigration policy pointing out the government's hypocricy: "Supposed land of the free, Lady Liberty lied to me."
But old fans need not worry, the music is as fast, fun and energetic as ever. Jorge's harsh, guttaral vocals drip with venom on each track. Any band can write political lyrics, but only the good bands can back up those lyrics with urgent music and confrontational vocals. A lot of the songs lead into each other, which gives Under Attack the feeling of a complete album. The simple, two-word choruses are impossible to not shout along with. "V.I.P." is the slowest song on the album but its still faster and rocks harder than many bands' so-called fast songs. The chorus is a classic fist-pumping Oi! sing-along.
But the album is not perfect. Although the vocals are right on I get an unexplainable feeling of a lack of intensity as compared to their albums before On the Front Line. However, I got this same vibe with the latest NOFX and Propagandhi records, so this could be due to my own growth as opposed to the bands'. But all of the songs, which are over three minutes, could easily be cut down to at least two and a half. Whenever Jorge takes a break from his vocal duties there seems to be a standard riff being played over a standard punk drum beat. The last song, an instrumental, honestly just seems like filler. Also, there are only 12 'fucks' on this whole album. Any Casualties fan knows it needs at least 88 more 'fuck's. These are minor complaints of an otherwise spectacular album.
Under Attack is 12 shots of pure punk rock the way it was meant to be played: loud, fast, and pissed off with shout-along choruses. If you like the Casualties, you'll like this. If you were one of those internet punks who complained about their lyrics, you'll find this album does a better job of fulfilling your great intellectual needs. As for me, I think it's their second best album.