Killing California - No Pentagrams, No Crosses (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Killing California

No Pentagrams, No Crosses (2012)


While I do think "Calling Killafornia" would have been a more amusing album title, San Clemente's Killing California clearly aren't particularly concerned with fun and frivolity, letting loose a fairly brutal punk rock assault on the forthright No Pentagrams, No Crosses. So much for gimmicks; the band spends most of their time grinding through 10 songs of hardcore street punk à la later day Unseen or Cheap Sex but without a mohawk or charged spikes in sight. A little more technical than the average three-chord punk band, Killing California wields some nice guitar work on the unrestrained opener "Now I'm You" and almost psychobilly sounding "Blame Bukowski."

The only times the band slows down coincide with the few weak periods on the record. "Forty Nine Miles" is a nearly five-minute sludger with repetitive lyrics and a pace that comes close to matching the "Hard Rock" tag iTunes stuck in the album's genre description. The three-minute instrumental "Dirt" is kind of cathartic but feels forced onto a stylistically divergent tracklist and could have at least been trimmed if deemed a necessary inclusion.

Raging punk fist-pumpers like "Cheap Wine" and "Spartan" give the album its most enjoyable moments, while even the previously bemoaned variety gives it a broader appeal and demonstrates the range of which the California quintet is capable.