Classic. Essential. Legendary. All good - and accurate - ways to describe D.O.A. Dig this new album on their own Sudden Death Records, reviewed by The Impaler below for Mass Movement 34, a work in progress. Come on… give punk a chance.
D.O.A. – We Come In Peace CD (Sudden Death)
‘We Come In Peace’ is as much a declaration of D.O.A.’s mission on this, the band’s 14th studio album of all-new material, as it is a way to identify this collection of songs by serving as the album’s title. Always a fiercely political band, D.O.A. have upped the ante here by jumping headfirst into the fray of the messy and chaotic shit-storm that is today’s less-than-stable worldwide political environment, tackling the financial crisis, the Occupy movement, shady dealings by top officials, systemic bigotry, and other important issues – both those that have been ripped from the headlines and those that have been culled from buried stories and the underground press. Musically, ‘We Come In Peace’ is possibly the band’s most diverse effort to date – but also its most cohesive. In the thirty-year span from their 1980 debut ‘Something Better Change’ to their brilliant 2010 release ‘Talk-Action=0’, D.O.A. adapted their sound to the changing times, ranging from the furious hardcore perfection of 1982’s ‘War On 45’ to the more subtle punk of 2008’s ‘Northern Avenger’. Here, though, frontman Joe Keithly and crew tackle the full history of that indefinable beast called punk rock with a stunning end result. Lead-off track ‘He’s Got A Gun’ is The Clash reborn for the 21st century, and for my money is every bit as exciting and essential as anything in the legendary Londoners’ catalog. Tracks like ‘Boneyard’ and ‘Man With No Name’ are thick slabs of psychobilly tempered with elements of Enrico Morricone’s much-loved Spaghetti Western soundtracks with the ghost of The Vandals dancing on the edges of the madness. ‘Dirty Bastards’ raises the Celtic street-punk flag high, and comes off like just as much of an homage to the Skids (oh, how I love that band!) as to more recent familial agitators like Dropkick Murphys or Flatfoot 56. ‘Do You Wanna?’ features Ben Kowalewicz of Billy Talent and is a glorious reminder of the power and danger of early 80s American (and Canadian) hardcore. ‘Bloodied But Unbowed’ pays tribute to the full history of D.O.A., and manages to tip a hat to everything from The Clash to Dead Kennedys in the process… which affords an excellent segue to mention the insta-classic ‘We Occupy’ with Jello Biafra on co-lead vocals. Add to that the vintage UK ska bounce of ‘War Hero’ (yes, it’s a cover of the Toxic Reasons song!), the stirring acoustic take on their own classic protest song ‘General Strike’, and the thrash-tastic romp through The Beatles’ ‘Revolution’ and a picture of what this album is all about should start to come into focus. The number of musical acts out there vying for attention is legion, but D.O.A. is LEGEND and ‘We Come In Peace’ is undeniable proof. I wouldn’t call this album ‘punk for the new generation’, because D.O.A. haven’t reinvented the wheel here. I would – and will – call this album ‘punk for every generation’, because D.O.A. have crafted a timeless and incredibly important album in ‘We Come In Peace’. Letting this one slip by unnoticed would be akin to giving up on life, giving up on the dream of making the world a better place, giving up on the spirit of punk. I urge you: don’t give up. Give punk a chance. The Impaler @impalerspeaks
Here’s an alternate cover that I found online and am using for promotional and informational purposes only. It may be for a single release.