Sunday, December 27, 2009

Review #19: A.N.S. - The Pool (2008)

Year: 2008
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore, Experimental
Label: Cowabunga Records
Tracks: 10
Length: 32 Minutes (Medium-Length)
Style: Rebellious/Angry
My Rating: 7/8

A.N.S. is a hardcore punk band from Texas that formed circa 1999. The band has released three LPs and two split EPs. Their main style is Californian-soundin' skateboarding-related punk with a small dash of avant-garde, though they play crossover thrash on their newest LP, "Pressure Cracks".

Last year's release, "The Pool", however, is a piece of classic punk rock. It's fun, it's rebellious, all of the songs sound good, and they try somethin' different on each track. One of the very few SOLID records we've had in awhile...

1. The Deep End
The Deep End of... "The Pool", perhaps? If THIS is The Deep End, perhaps the last track is meant to represent the SHALLOW END? The Wading Pool? No? Well, anyways, the song begins with a good bass, and once the rest of the instruments kick in, with a nice solo, you can already tell that this is going to be a good album. After the intro, the tempo gets faster, and it's an energetic hardcore thrasher. You know what to expect (in a good way, of course!). The vocals get real intense towards the enddddddddddddddddddddddSDFSDFGDSF.

2. Just in Your Mind
Another great one. Starts with an ominous, psycho-sounding intro... silence... and then the meat of the song immediately starts! Even faster than the last song. Reminds me of an early Suicidal Tendencies song. Brutal backin' vocals!

3. Attack of the Reaganauts
Sorry, but... Ronald Reagan's dead. However, his worshippers are still alive and well. It wouldn't be a TRUE hardcore album without a slam at Ronnie. This one's an instrumental, though you hear some sound-clips from some show or radio serial that I do not recognize at one point. The song has a rather surf-y sound to it.

4. Skate Nazi
Neo-Nazis skateboard too, kidz! This song appears to be about the protoganist being harrassed by a Skate-Nazi, who wants to kill him! I love the chorus riffage.

5. Gar Ecliop
Okay, this is one of the weirder tracks on the album. It's all weird and in reverse. If you didn't already figure it out, "Gar Ecliop" is "Police Rag" backwards. We all hate pigs. Anyways, I decided to play the song in reverse and speed it up by 20% to get how it might have originally been recorded, and it's pretty bassy, basically revolving around police brutality and their unfair ways. A very badass song, either way... unfortunately, it fades out during the second verse. It ends too soon. End of Side 1.

6. Through Time and Space
A more downbeat-sounding song with a slow intro, but then the fast part of the song starts. The end section goes back to the original slowness, but then that gets faster, and then the song ends with a solo.

7. Skate Zombies Must Shred
Starts with a funny short skit of a Nature Show-sounding guy remarking at a crowd of skateboarders. It's pretty much a song laying down the ways of the skate zombie. Never seen one myself, but I'm sure that they exist. The songs end with a soundclip of a zombie skateboarding.

8. Thought Wrong
My favorite song on the album. The riff and the chorus are just classic. Dunno why, but it really appeals to me. A very good song.

9. The Grip
Slightly slower than the rest of the songs on the album. Great, aggressive vocals and an awesome beat on this one. This one also has a good solo.

10. The Shadow Has a Name
The last track on the album. It's a very weird track. It starts with the sounds of thunder, until we hear the drums, and then we realize it's a mostly instrumental track that's remniscient of Black Flag in 1984. More soundclips of people talking from old movies, and maniac laughing from Chris, the vocalist. There's also fast, thrashier sections of the song. All in all, it's a very diverse, interesting song. More rain and thunder at the end. And then, there is even more rain. More rain. Rainy, rainy, rain. Lots of rain. About 8 minutes and 30 seconds into the song, we start hearing some lounge-style music from a radio. The rest is basically a weird sound-collage. The whole song clocks in at almost 14 minutes in length.

So, if you like '80s hardcore punk, this is for you. The album's overall sound makes me think somewhere between Black Flag and Suicidal Tendencies in the early '80s. It's got the spirit. It's familiar, yet not overly contrived. It has the same attitude and youthful energy as its influences. One of the best traditional punk albums in awhile.

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