Authority Zero - Stories of Survival
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Record Label: Suburban Noize/Viking Funeral
What's the best way to describe Authority Zero? Reliable. Not great, not outstanding - but good. Nice and pleasant, easy to be content with - like driving a Hyundai, eating a burrito or being Andy Roddick. People won't celebrate you often, but you're happy with who you are, who you wake up next to, and what you do with your life.
There's no more gestation period for the Mesa, AZ quartet - they've settled into their ska-based "rhythm & booze" rock sound, and well, they're good at it. Yep, that's a rather bland statement, but it's acceptable for this kind of music, which won't redefine a genre or find any new listeners. It's exactly what you expect and it makes for a solid summer soundtrack. "Brick In The Wave" and "No Way Home" are nicely-polished punk rock scorchers with plenty of firepower in their arsenal; "Big Bad World" sways with the cool breeze of summer protest, while "The Remedy," as cliche and banal as its message might convey, sees Authority Zero doing what they do best.
Songs like "Movement" show that the tires might meet to be rotated, but then again, any excuse for a band so well-engaged with their core audience is unnecessary. "The New Pollution" is probably a song you've heard a dozen times before in different aspects, but it doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Same goes for "Break The Mold," which despite its title, isn't a significant or alarming change in theory - fast, up-tempo and bursting with calamity, it's just good punk rock. Stories of Survival does recognize one crucial artifact no fan can ultimately ignore: it is Authority Zero's first really cohesive effort. It tacks on a theme of prevailing over rebellious and radical ideals while never overstepping your rights; it's as angry as any Anti-Flag record, but keeps the protest within reach and is conscious of who might be listening, maintaining it's socio-political hearsay.
The first band and album to see release under Fletcher Dragge's (Pennywise) Suburban Noize imprint, Viking Funeral, Stories of Survival is simple enough to please the resident fans of the band without being clumsy. Make no mistake when noting it's "good" and "pleasant" - this isn't a Pennywise record, where more songs bleed together after a short length of time. Jason DeVore has essentially ditched any raucous playfulness he displayed in the past and keeps his lyrics focused and his melodies tightly-wound. Like the car that will go 100,000 miles without a tune-up, it's a pleasure to see Authority Zero continue their reliability and repair things on their own, instead of ever needing to recharge their battery.
Suicide Machines! That's who I was trying to think of, but for some reason it escaped me. Adding now.
They're a tricky beast when it comes to RIYL because it's more on a song-by-song basis. Rancid might be a good one too. Faster punk rock songs, a few slower ska/reggae tracks, and a ridiculously fast ska/punk combo thrown in for good measure.
i agree with the review and most sentiments inthe comments. there's nothing to dis-like about these guys, they're just a solid skate-punk band with some ska/reggae leanings here and there. same forumla every album, you always know what you're going to get. all 4 of their albums are relatively the same quality and style. kind of like Pennywise or Rise Against. i dig them, but i've never been super-stoked on them. just solid punk rock for ya.