Howitzer - Turncoat [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Turncoat [7 inch] (2007)

Hazard Hill

With a name like Howitzer, it might be easy to expect some kind of militaristic, right-wing outfit, especially since the band's current base of operations is Florida, home of NASCAR and the hanging chad. However, one listen of "Folded American Flag" from Howitzer's Turncoat 7-inch will prove that's thankfully not the case, and the band's old-school sound retains the dissenting punk mentality in tow.

Though not digressing far from the tried and true, it can be said without any doubt that Howitzer knows the sound they're going for, and knock it home with authority. For the most part, the band's rumble and roll punk tunes fall somewhere between a slower Something's Gotta Give-era Agnostic Front and a harder sounding derivative of the Business.

The aforementioned "Folded American Flag" is the record's finest cut, and should have been the chosen single in my opinion. Instead, "Turncoat" is the endowed with that honor, and while it isn't bad by any means, it lacks the more refined storytelling found in "Folded American Flag." Like lyrical themes presented by fellow Bostonians the Street Dogs and Far from Finished (two-thirds of Howitzer is originally from Massachusetts), "Folded American Flag" succeeds on its pragmatic anti-war sentiments that come from a very personal level: "My brother loved this land so much he died for it / And now all that's left is this folded American flag / And I hate those pricks that sent him off to war / But I love and respect my brother…so I let it go."

"Life on the Streets" gets Side B going with the single's best guitar work and an effective mid-song breakdown. Though it may suffer just a bit from repetitive lyrics, it still outshines the Social D-sounding "I Just Don't Give a Damn," which is a bit too poky and meandering, and the only track on the 7-inch that doesn't fully impress.

Howitzer's Turncoat documents a competent and capable band drawing on Oi! and hardcore influences alike in pounding out their rock-solid sound. This 7-inch provides a pleasant taste of what to expect from the band in the future, and affords enough merit for those interested to justify checking out their debut full-length, Police State.