The Subhumans (Canada) - New Dark Age Parade (Cover Artwork)

The Subhumans (Canada)

New Dark Age Parade (2006)

G7 Welcoming Committee

The Subhumans are back in action, and I'm not talking about the UK version of the Subhumans. On September 15th, the original Subhumans, who hail from Vancouver, British Columbia , are set to release their newest album in nearly 24 years. The punk rock band initially broke up in 1982, but has reformed on a couple of occasions for reunion shows, but in 2005 reunited to finally record a new album. The name of the new album is New Dark Age Parade, and it reeks of political angst from start to finish. The band is appropriately releasing their new CD on the Winnipeg-based indie label, G7 Welcoming Committee Records, who are home to other political acts such as: Propagandhi, GFK, and Noam Chomsky.

The new album reminds me of what other punk acts like Descendents and Social Distortion have been doing for the past two decades. At many points on New Dark Age Parade, the band's vocalist Brian Goble even reminds me of the early singing style of Milo from Descendents. The album's production is crisp and clear, with musicianship tight and the guitar solos rocking. The lyrics are fairly straightforward and fueled with frustration regarding the current state of affairs around the world. This frustration is quite evident in the song "Moving Forward," which is a tirade against the current American administration. The song's chorus sings, "You say you want to liberate, but you really want to dominate, you've got your sights set on Iran but what about Uzbekistan," and showcases the band at its finest, and most livid on the new album.

However, the album's overall vocal performance seems to lack a certain energy that is needed to pull everything together. At times the vocal melodies seem to repeat from song to song, and this causes the band to seem a bit lacklustre. Also, the majority of the songs on New Dark Age Parade are of the same tempo and similar song structure, so the album begins to sound a bit tired and dull nearing the end.

The album's artwork is related to the album's lyrical content, and is composed with pictures of cartoon characters living in the 1950s in a time of war. The characters appear content yet ignorant to the effects cause by their war. My overall impressions of New Dark Age Parade are that of a solid yet simple album written about various political issues. There aren't too many standout tracks on the album; however, there aren't any weak songs either.

For fans of old-school mid-tempo punk rock, be sure to check out the Subhumans' New Dark Age Parade and be sure to check out the Subhumans out on their cross-Canada tour this fall.

Highlight tracks: "World at War," "Moving Forward"