Defiance – Out of the Ashes – Review


Out of the Ashes (Punk Core)
by Grady Gadbow

Portland is proud of its politics, pot, and puns. Politics have been kind of a non-starter since we fired all the teachers and cops, and it turns out that too much fancy weed can put you off your Pabst, so we all quit blazing. The PDX Punx, however, are thriving in this new climate of unfaded ignorance and anarchy.

The four bristling lager louts of Defiance have been waffle-stomping about the Rose City for a decade now, and their new full-length finds them no worse for wear. Percussive, rumbling bass lines, one-two, one-two drum beats, and pick slides into guitar fracas get things rolling on the first track, ’cause that’s the way it’s done.

The lyrics are mostly political rants, militaristic, in opposition to war and confrontationally P.C. Along with wantonly off-key backing vocals, the effect invites comparison to old school English crust. In the interest of science, I compared Out of the Ashes directly to The Exploited’s Punk’s Not Dead and found The Exploited much dumber. Watti’s accent is funnier than Mike’s, but maybe it’s the other way around if you live in Depford. I wouldn’t know.

The other experiment I conducted involved establishing the proper listening context. Really enjoying old school punk to its fullest involves shouting along with the lyrics and lots of physical goofing around. I found the album rated poorly if I put it on at low volume while meditating, but if I played it at really high volume while running around in a counter-clockwise circle and beating myself about the head and shoulders with a piss-soaked hand puppet of George Bush, it sounded great!
(PO Box 916 Middle Island, NY 11953)