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Pasadena Napalm Division - "P.N.D. EP" (CD/EP)

Pasadena Napalm Division - "P.N.D. EP" CD/EP cover image

"P.N.D. EP" track listing:

1. Spell It Out
2. 100 Beers with a Zombie
3. Non Ti Amo
4. Speaking in Tongues
5. Failure
6. Okra

Reviewed by on February 8, 2011

"D.R.I. vocalist Kurt Brecht is back with three members of Dead Horse and Bubba Dennis of Verbal Abuse on bass in Pasadena Napalm Division, a band that tries to resurrect the pure crossover snottiness of decades past."

Crossover thrash will likely never be as invigorating and rush inducing as it was at its inception, no matter how many new bands try to rehash the past. The feeling that came with something new coming virtually out of nowhere and sparking a movement simply can't be recreated. The second time around, everything is expected, and there's nothing to come out of left field and cave in your sinuses like an errant elbow in the pit. But when a legend of the old guard returns, it can potentially be the next best thing to having been there in the days when punks and metal heads still took the steel toes to each others' teeth, and a band called D.R.I. spat in both of their collective faces by fusing metal and punk into an arrogant, brash, and volatile sub-genre. Now, D.R.I. vocalist Kurt Brecht is back with three members of Dead Horse and Bubba Dennis of Verbal Abuse on bass in Pasadena Napalm Division, a band that tries to resurrect the pure crossover snottiness of decades past.

Formed in 2008, and drawing its members from Austin, Pasadena, and Houston, Pasadena Napalm Division recently released its P.N.D. EP on Abyss records. From the outset its pure old school crossover all the way with the opening track, “Spell It Out,” setting the tone with that juvenile sense of humor that's arrogant and simple enough to cut through the bullshit and get to the heart of the target. It's the continuation of D.R.I., and Brecht sounds like he's back in the bad old days of near starvation, van breakdowns, and getting ripped off by shady promoters, and he couldn't be happier or more ready to let the venom flow. Every word in this song is actually spelled out in Brecht's own unique hardcore yell delivery. “I l-o-v-e you, I k-i-l-l you.” Classic stuff from the crusty old progenitor.

Next on deck is “100 Beers with a Zombie,” a song with serious overtones in a humorous guise. Dark comedy espousing the damaging effects of repeated overconsumption. The best comedy comes from pain, as they say. The song goes through the requirements, ticking off the boxes on the old school checklist, with some competent guitar solo work thrown in as well. Then there's “Non Ti Amo,” sung by Brecht entirely in Spanish, with a gang vocal chorus. It's an evil sounding anti-love song. “Speaking In Tongues” almost has Pasadena Napalm Division sounding a bit like a D.R.I. cover band. This one has a bit of Motorhead fever and speed metal gallop to it, with some “Haunting the Chapel” era Slayer vibrations. This track is the highlight of the E.P., with Brecht sounding like thrash's answer to Ian MacKaye.

“I'm a failure, fuck, fuck, fuckin' failure.” This is the sound of the middle class, middle age realization that the dream is dead, or worse, was never pursued in the first place. It was given up in pursuit of something fake—something sold to us all and bought wholesale at big box retail outlets like super-sized tubs of Prozac chewables. The second last song on the E.P, the appropriately titled “Failure,” shows that Pasadena Napalm Division has a message behind the sneers and jabs. Ending the disc is the so-called hidden track, “Okra,” a joke tribute to the edible green seed pods of the flowering plant.

You can't dig up the bones of the past and expect them to whirl around the pit and head bang like they did in the days of yore. But as Pasadena Napalm Division shows, there's plenty of life left in those old bones yet.

Highs: The P.N.D. E.P. is a total throwback to crossover's early days in the most positive sense of the word.

Lows: What's up with the hidden track? It seems like a complete waste of studio time.

Bottom line: Fans of D.R.I. and crossover thrash should check out this release and keep their eyes peeled for a future full length from Brecht and co.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)