The Casualties

We Are All We Have

Written by: PP on 27/10/2009 18:23:59

I guess I'm kinda late to jump onto The Casualties bandwagon considering their seventh album "We Are All We Have" is my first real contact with the band, but better late than never right? Based on what I've read though, they've sounded exactly like this for the entirety of their 19 year career, so the only problem really is the headache I get from banging my head against the wall for missing out on an act who so obviously fits all the qualities that I consider when throwing out words like good and great towards punk bands. You know how bands always love to reminisce about the old school sing alongs? Well this is fucking it. Every track on "We Are All We Have" has lots and lots of woo-hoo backing vocals and choruses, almost making me think that The Casualties took The Misfits' "Walk Among Us" and made it sound like anthemic street punk instead. Think The Unseen, Discipline, Leftöver Crack, The Exploited and the lot.

So yeah, this is so fucking punk rock, think scissor jumps, huge mohawks, tight guitars, relentless speed, and an uncompromising attitude of the kind that Anti-Flag display at their live shows. The Casualties are a great example of how good gimmick-free, no-bullshit, underground punk can really be. Riffs may be lacking for the most part amidst the power-chord hungry delivery of the guitarists, but who cares when the songs constantly pack as big of a punch as the title track. Singer Jorge Herrera's attitude-filled, crusty scream is absolutely brilliant and a big part of the pissed-off-at-the-world feel of the whole album, sounding like his throat's going to commit suicide sometime next week, but yet he's kept it going for 17 years. It fits perfectly on lyrics like "(HEY!) Loud fast music / (HEY!) sweat and dirt / (HEY!) sounds from man's soul" which truly embodies what this band is all about. Calling The Casualties the punkest band on planet wouldn't feel out of question, as the pedal is floored on every single song on the album - aside from two reggae tracks - and piercing political and social issues are a recurring theme on the album. The lyrics may not be intellectually on the same level as bands like Bad Religion, Strike Anywhere, Propagandhi or even Rise Against, but the simplistic approach makes them more easily accessible, and isn't punk rock supposed to be about being angry and pissed off without having a Ph.D? Consider the almost spoken word, female opening lyrics from "Apocalypse Today", for instance:

"Look at mankind, our planet poisoned and diseased. Past generations raped it with their greed. Yet we still destroy all the oceans, and pollute the skies, what's left for our future, nothing but extinction. Drink a glass of water, you're drinking acid rain. Take a deep breath, pollution in your brain. They fuck up everything, the planet doesn't lie, they fuck up everything, LEAVING US TO DIE!!"

Could they be any more relevant with the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Copenhagen in just over a month? These are then spat out and repeated again aggressively by Herrera's crusty scream to ensure everyone got the fucking message.

There are only a couple of tracks on the record where The Casualties deviate from their high-energy sound. "War Is Business", for example, sounds a little bit like "Rio Grande Blood"-era Ministry. But more distinctly, "In The Tombs" finishes in a reggae-section that's later repeated in the perfect album closer, the eight minute long "Rockers' Reggae (Working Man's Dub)", where The Casualties basically outline what they sound like and what they stand for in what's quickly becoming one of my favorite album finisher's that I remember: "Music from the heart / lyrics from the streets [...] / You can keep your shitty tour / You can keep your dance shit / But you'll never get these working man songs / pop fucking stars glam fucking metal / Their emo shit they'll never feel it / They don't know what is needed / These days, times and days, what we need / is more working man songs / Up the punks for working man songs."


Download: We Are All We Have, Apocalypse Today, Stand Against Them All
For the fans of: Discipline, The Unseen, The Exploited, Leftöver Crack
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.08.2009

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