Pasadena Napalm Division
posted on 10/2010 By:
With legendary crossover pioneers DRI back in action but as a touring outfit only, vocalist Kurt Brecht joined forces with three-quarters of Texas thrashers Dead Horse and the bassist from Angkor Wat (since replaced by the bassist from Verbal Abuse) in Pasadena Napalm Division, another outlet for the punk-thrash hybrid that made Pasadena’s respective members famous... or sort-of famous... or… well, certainly not famous enough.
Brecht's half-shouted vocals make this six-song EP most immediately comparable to DRI, and the often goofy subject matter harkens back to the sillier side of both DRI and Dead Horse. Opening track "Spell It Out" does just that, each line spelled out letter by letter, which must be an A-S-S-P-A-I-N to remember when performing live. "100 Beers With A Zombie" is the tale of drinking copious quantities of beer with roadie Zombie Ray; "Non Ti Amo" is entirely in Italian, and "bonus" track "Okra" is about... okra. ("Luby's definitely has the best," Brecht declares between the loping, C&W-tinged riffing.) The stuttering chorus of “Failure” is the album’s catchiest moment, imminently singable as Brecht succinctly sums up the protagonist’s position as such: “I’m a failure, a fuck-fuck-fuckin’ failure.”
Crossover thrash’s primary selling point has always been its undeniable energy—the skanking rhythm, blazing riffage and giddy exuberance all rolled up into one mosh-worthy package—and Pasadena Napalm Division delivers that energy in spades. These songs are memorable, well-played, well-recorded.
Not to shortchange the band or the disc, because both are first-class, but there's really not too much to say about PND beyond this:
PND rocks like a champ—this is 80s-style crossover thrash, with production updated suitably for the new millennium, and it's performed expertly by a group of beer-swilling goofballs who did it right the first time and still do it better than anyone. This EP is absolutely a must-hear for anyone into classic crossover or modern retro-thrash; it’s one of the most entertaining and energizing EPs I've run across in a very long time, and while it’s not groundbreaking in the least, it’s nevertheless a year-end-list contender for me based on its sheer fun quotient alone. Rumor has it the band has enough material penned for a follow-up, so here’s hoping it’s coming quickly.
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