Amen - Death Before Musick (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Death Before Musick (2004)


Every once in a while an album is released that is great from beginning to end. The Clash's "London Calling", Bad Religion's "Suffer", Black Flag's "Damaged"; I would like to add Amen's first full length in 3 years, "Death Before Musick" to that list. For the past 3 years Amen have been screwed by a label, resulting in a completely lost album that will never see the light of day, they were denied access to England after being handpicked by Steve Jones to open for the Sex Pistols. So, as you can see, there is much reason to be pissed. Casey is back as the only original member of the band with 4, in my opinion, much better musicians than his past lineups which have gone on to do horrid things (IE join Nu Metal crap bands). This new lineup is far more punk rock influenced anyways, which fit's Casey perfectly. 2000's "We Have Come For Your Parents" was amazing, but nothing could prepare me for this new album.

Amen set the tone for the rest of the record from the defiant riot call of the intro "Liberation For....", a quick and brutal way to welcome you back to Casey Chao's world of anger. The second song, "Hello", begins with the screaming lyrics "Rise up and be discarded! Rise up to be.....misunderstood!", before breaking into thrashing hardcore punk reminscent of early Discharge or mid-era Black Flag. Next is the first single off the album, "California's Bleeding" (which is slowly becoming quite a hit over in the UK, but is unheard of here in the states) This song is done in typical Amen style, but there is also an unexpected groove and almost a funk to it which gives it a distinctive edge. It is almost like an Iggy Pop style song, only with a lot more screaming and slightly heavier music. The fourth track on the album is one of my personal favorites, "The Abolishment Of Luxury". This is an amazing track that reveals a strong Germs influence, one of the hardest tracks on an already brutal album.

Other highlights include the catchy and hyperactive "Oblivion Stereo", the nihilistic and heavy as hell "Please Kill Me". The most offensive and violent track on the album is the frenzied "Bring Me The Heads", which is a straight up hardcore punk thrasher featuring the chorus "Selling out, everyone you know is selling out....Bring me the head of Roman Polanski! bring me the legs of Fred Astaire!".

A true classic in ever respect, "Death Before Musick" is the result of 3 years of anger, frustration and perseverence. In this release you can hear all of Casey's varied influences mixing together, everything from the obvious Flag, Germs and Discharge influences to more subtle Adverts, Dead Boys and Stooges influences. This is REAL hardcore punk's answer to all the weak screamo and metalcore bullshit that is considered hard music. If you have any interest in highly physical punk rock at all you need to pick up or steal this record for your own good and see their live show which rivals any possible description.