Amen - _Death Before Musick_
(Eat Ur Music, 2004)
by: Jackie Smit (9 out of 10)
It's astonishing to note the degree of separation between what passes for punk these days and what truly goes some way toward defining the term. That said, there has been much whining from various quarters on the topic, but one could perhaps argue that this sorry state of affairs has forced real punk bands to adopt a workmanlike attitude that has ultimately served to benefit their recorded output, case in point being Amen. While the members of Blink 182 were showing off multi-million dollar mansions on MTV's Cribs, the past three years have at best been trying for one Casey Chaos. Dumped by Virgin Records on the cusp of releasing his band's third album and then being slapped with a demand for upwards of $200,000 just to secure the rights to his own music, is only some of the near career-ending turmoil that followed 2000's superb _We Have Come for Your Parents_ effort. Four years on though and instead of cashing in his chips and calling it a day, like so many others would have, Mr Chaos has recruited a fresh set of co-conspirators and poured what little money he had left into _Death Before Musick_. The results speak for themselves. Although not as frenzied as the group's first two releases, _Death Before Musick_ is definitely no less incendiary, providing ample evidence once again that Amen are the combined reincarnation of The Dead Kennedys and Iggy & The Stooges. Indeed, Casey Chaos' debt to one Iggy Pop is especially noticeable on such mid-tempo rockers as "Hello (One Chord Lovers)" and "California's Bleeding". Unfortunately though, the record, like its predecessors, flags a little toward the end. However, in this instance, it is markedly less so than with past efforts, and invariably it does not detract at all from the fact that _Death Before Musick_ is as perfect a rallying call as there ever was for a full-scale riot.


(article published 19/4/2004)

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