Various - Mass Destruction (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Mass Destruction (2003)


I think the deluge of compilations as serving as catchall label samplers have soured my expectations of how good they can be with a little effort. Mass Destruction is one of those rare comps that, like the early Give Em The Boot's, manages to establish a sound and feeling that works as a standalone album. That's rare in punk compilations.

It helps that there's a lot of interesting material on here. New York's family of bands that grew out of Choking Victim have a particularly strong showing, highlighted by an unreleased track by the aforementioned ska-punk outfit. Their successors in Leftover Crack contribute a collaboration with the Distillers on "Muppet N.A.M.B.L.A." that's a lot of fun. Sixgun Radio throws in the driving, unreleased track "Culture Crave" that rejuvenates the Down By Law-styled skatepunk sound. Osker leads off the album with the previously out of print "No Spine." The bands former frontman Devon Williams makes a second appearance with a fantastic solo track titled "Prove Me Wrong." Out of place but still rockin' is a re-recording of "The Blackout" by new wave revivalists The Static Age. There's also quite a bit of unreleased or previously out-of-print stuff from bands like Union 13, Death On Wednesday, Kurt Vile, The Arsons… really too much to name in a review. On top of that there's choice album cuts from acts like The Lawrence Arms, Manda And The Marbles, The Ghost and the GC5 among others.

Based on the strength of these bands, other tracks on the comp that may be individually weaker manage to blend in well. Obviously Mass Destruction's mainly a straight-up punk rock album, but it manages to do that task incredibly well; You can tell it took some care and thought to assemble. A lot of punk compilations filter on and off my shelf in a given year, but this one seems like it'll have a much longer stay.