Against All Authority - Destroy What Destroys You (Cover Artwork)

Against All Authority

Destroy What Destroys You (1996)

Far Out

To tell you the truth, I was surprised to see there wasn't any review of Destroy What Destroys You, which is, without a doubt, a fan favorite. I'm sure a lot of people have heard this album already and what I write probably won't change their opinion about it, but this review will be more for the people that haven't heard this album or the band. So bear with me while i put this album into context.

I wish i could tell you that i've been listening to AAA since this record came out, but around that time, i was too busy thinking girls had cooties and how awesome Cartoon Network was. It was released in 1996, the heyday of ska revival. While most ska bands were enjoying the popularity, here comes one that is not only angry at the world and the people that are in charge of it, but are also willing to stay true to their DIY ethos. Enter Against All Authority from Miami, Florida.

Yes, the perfect word to describe this band is angry. You know this the moment you see the cover, which depicts a gun in someone's mouth (and if you want a general idea of whose mouth it is, you'll have to check the back cover). The angst, however, is kind of...well, teenage. The politics of this album aren't as intelligent or as specific as their later albums. The songs are all pretty much sing-along, catchy anthems played at a speed worthy of `80s punk mixed with the horn section, creating a great ska-punk album. To give you a general sense, it is more along the lines of Operation Ivy and Suicide Machines than Less Than Jake and Mustard Plug.

The album starts very strong with "Lifestyle of Rebellion," which is a manifesto of what this band is about. "No Reason" is another of the standout tracks, about growing up with racist parents, which features a really catchy guitar riff. "Freedom" is a great ska song but also a call to arms under the cry of (obviously) "freedom!" "Bloodclot" is an a nice, almost-instrumental (save for a few words) song which is by comparison, slower than the rest of the album.

"Another Fuck You Song" is the band's collective middle finger to corrupt businessmen that couldn't care less about other people. "30 Sec Song," which is actually 35 seconds long, seems to me as the only song that could have been left out and no one would have noticed. "Osuchosky's on the Loose" is another instrumental, and has a great bass-line. "Walking Revolution" is probably their most popular song among fans, and while a line like "I never do what i'm told, I'm a fucking timebomb waiting to explode" may not seem mature, the way Danny (lead singer) spits it out makes it great.

As if to show that not everything's about politics, "Corporate Takeover" talks about the scene and bands that are in it for the money and "Hard as Fuck" (one of the fastest and more "punk" songs) is about religion. "Centerfold" is a cover song, originally by J Geils Band, with one of the catchiest horn-lines of all time. The album closes after 22 tracks with the aptly titled "Court 22."

Overall, it is a great album that kicks in and never slows down enough to let you go. The songs may blend it at times, but once the vocals kick in, it creates enough distinction between them. It loses a point because of that and the fact that not all the songs are in the lyrics sheet (weird, I know). It is still an awesome album that stands the test of time.