The God Awfuls – Next Stop, Armageddon

I have had this CD to review for at least six months now, and one may speculate that I avoided reviewing it because it was inappropriately horrid. One would be wrong. I am just ridiculously good at putting things off. The God Awfuls, who had recently signed to Kung Fu Records (recent as of the time I received the album), put out a pretty decent album. I will admit that I was expecting something slightly different given the label they were on. The label is home to Ozma (not a fan of this), Audio Karate and other such bands. So, I logically expected something along those lines when I was looking through the press kit for The God Awfuls release. Keep in mind that there is a horrible, bright pink color chosen to designate the sky on the cover.

Still, I like my “pop-punk” as much as I like my ska and “skate-punk” and whatever the fuck other subgenres there are in the whole punk category (honestly, how many are there?). So, I didn’t have the lowest of expectations especially since I like the Vandals. The press release was sure to mention that this album and this band played a type of punk rock that was true to the genre, unlike the more poppy bands sprouting up. With the release focusing so many words to persuade the reader that The God Awfuls are not synthetic, I became seriously doubtful.

At first listen, like 30 seconds into the album, I thought, “ok, this is no Ozma.” Still, saying that it veers so much from the more melodic trend currently infesting the industry, is somewhat of a misdirection, daresay a lie. While I found myself recalling Anti-Flag there were not too many similarities. The common characteristic is the political outbursts via the lyrics. The God Awfuls provide tighter and catchier melodies, not as angry sounding as Anti-Flag or passionate even. Not to say they aren’t passionate about the issues addressed. It just seems that “motherfucker” was used as a replacement for more coherent and forceful words of dissatisfaction. It became downright amusing to me in some of the songs when “motherfucker” was belted out.

As far as the social justice pleas go there is nothing revolutionary or new. Nothing that makes one see a different twist on an issue, nothing enlightening. Though, there is some refreshing (not profound or original) introspection done in “East Side One.” Basically, I am trying to get the point across that there is nothing exceptional about the album. But, an album need not be exceptional to win my ears over.

It is hard to be a political band; I understand this (not through experience just through empathy for the struggle). I mean, you try to put out a strong, mind-opening album and your ideas are deemed generic and idealistic. I, for one, am a supporter of the concept of ideal, of perfection, of everyone getting along. While I did agree with the messages in the album, it was slightly bland. Luckily, the fast guitar riffs and drum patterns kick some life into the content. Imagine that, kicking the life into something … who would have thought? So while Next Stop, Armageddon isn’t groundbreaking, it is still worth a listen or a few. If I were going to the Warped Tour, I’d make sure to check them out. Fast, melodic, and surprisingly good. At least they are making an effort though they really should change their name just because it’s a name I see being for a band for angst filled thirteen-year-olds. So, good job to Kung Fu for introducing some variety into the line-up.

(Kung Fu Records)