The second official LP by the blessedly angry OFF! is a hell of a ride. The group is taking the foot off the gas every once in a while, and the newfound dynamics pay dividends. Songs such as the ferocious “Exorcised” get a chance to jump out of the mix now that they aren’t book-ended by equally speedy offerings.
The slower numbers never lumber as much as late-era Black Flag songs often would, but they slow down just enough to bring some real diversity to this track list. “No Easy Escape” is an especially pleasant surprise in this realm. The sludgy verses absolutely explode into the choruses. Lead singer Keith Morris shreds the vocals on this song. I don’t know what keeps Morris so angry well into his 50s, but whatever it is, I sure hope it nags at him long enough to fuel enough material for another four or five albums as incendiary as this one is.
Vocals (Morris) and guitar (Dimitri Coats) are front and center in the mix on most tracks, which is how every good punk album should be. And even though most songs sneak in under the two-minute mark, Coats still gets a chance to lay down some lightning quick lead work on songs such as “All I Can Grab” and “Death Trip on the Party Train.” I hope OFF! continues to tweak their attack on future releases, since this slight adjustment to their formula has resulted in a stone-cold classic punk album.
- Record: Wasted Years
- Artist: OFF!
- Label: Vice
- Songs: (1) Void You Out (2) Red White and Black (3) Legion of Evil (4) No Easy Escape (5) Over Our Heads (6) Hypnotized (7) It Didn't Matter To Me (8) Exorcised (9) Death Trip on the Party Train (10) I Won't Be A Casualty (11) All I Can Grab (12) Time's Not On Your Side (13) Meet Your God (14) Mr. Useless (15) You Must Be Damned (16) Wasted Years (17) In Your Arms (Bonus Track)