Pennywise is a legendary Punk band from the USA. Sadly, around this time, their main bassist Jason Thirsk committed suicide and the band needed a swift replacement after the grieving, with Randy Bradbury filling in his spot in the band. Despite what was going down at the time, and the given pressure on the band, Pennywise still managed to create this album. Which is a miraculous thing to have happened as time and other pressures threatened to derail the group. Regardless, let’s take a good listen to the material on this album, and hear if it is up to scratch with previous albums, or not.
Fight Till You Die begins with a drumroll, some pounding beats and thrashy guitars. This is less like ordinary Punk, and much more like Hardcore Punk instead. This is a monstrous and powerful tune with some great melodies and singing throughout. The chorus of the song and the song instrumentation are really sharp, aggressive and to the point. This is not going to be to the tastes of people who enjoy slow music, but it is really fantastic and awesome to listen to, to this very day. A wonderful listen that still retains its freshness from way back in 1997, this works wonders. Fast and furious, Pennywise waste no time here creating great Hardcore Punk music. Excellent music.
Date With Destiny is another very fast and brutal number. The palm muted and speedy riffing is very amazing here, and the whole tune sounds very good, decent and amazing for what it is. This is much more musical than lyrical here, and it isn’t too far away from Black Flag’s early works. In fact, one can judge this as Hardcore Punk for the 1990s. Towards the end is a ripping guitar solo that sounds great, before returning to the chorus at hand. Another excellent tune, Pennywise obviously did very, considering that there was some bad stuff going down at the time. The ending is awesome. As good as Hardcore Punk gets.
Get A Life begins with a great guitar riff in the right channel, before the rest of the band kick in to amaze you with their wonderful and powerful music. Again, this is more inclined towards Hardcore Punk than anything else out there musically. Still, it works tremendously well, and the music is very, very good for those who like experiencing fast tunes. The lyrics rail against society’s ills, such as religion and other social phenomena about. This is not exactly Hillsong styled music, to be fair, so no listener of this band would disagree with these lyrics at this point as they are quite anti-religious. In the second half of the song are some good guitar solos, followed by a very good chorus with super fast guitars. This is fairly reminiscent of Metallica’s …And Justice For All album, in terms of speed and consistency. Like that album, this is also a rewarding listen. It ends abruptly.
Society begins with gurgling bass guitar parts, some overdriven and melodic guitar palm muted riffs, quickly launching into a powerful and interesting tune. It’s more Pop Punk than before, and is actually at a slow pace. That is, until the drumming kicks in to change all that. A wonderful and excellent tune about society’s ills in the modern world, this is a really excellent and interesting piece of music that should be heard by anyone who has at least a passing interest in Punk styled music. The alternation between slow/fast here is ridiculously excellent by the group. Towards the end, the guitars become silent, and there are some gurgling bass guitar parts again, with hi-hats and singing. A really excellent listening experience. It quickly launches back into the chorus and is a very good tune. Definitely worth your ears. It ends with some spacey delay effects on the mix. Great stuff.
Final Day begins with some melodic and interesting palm muted guitar riffing, quickly launching into another very wonderful and awesome piece of music. A lot slower, melodic and energetic, it enters a faster Hardcore Punk section that is extremely aggressive. This is very much mosh pit music, and in some ways, it is also intellectual music for those who are consciously anti-intellectual. Throughout, the drumming and playing by the group is absolutely insanely great, particular the former. Towards the end are some sustained power chords on guitar, before returning to palm muted riffing and bursting into an awesome and interesting listen at a super fast pace than you’d expect. A great three minute long Punk and Hardcore Punk song.
Broken begins with some super aggressive and minor key based riffs, continuing into an awesome song that shows plenty of quality for this style of music. This is great music about being misused by others, and it is perfectly matched by the Hardcore Punk stylings of this song. A really awesome piece of music to enjoy. This song (and album) is particularly aimed at a male teenage audience, although others can enjoy this album just as easily. There is an awesome guitar solo in the second half which sounds unusual, before this tune continues with some verses and the chorus to conclude. Another excellent song that runs for under three minutes, worth hearing.
Running Out Of Time begins with some choppy drum rolls and bass guitar that fades in. Soon enough, electric guitars enter and we are in another Hardcore Punk classic tune. This music is extremely underrated in retrospect, even by 1997’s standards. This is a glorious tune with some massive palm muted guitar riffs and speedy tempos that take one by surprise. Even if you are not a huge Hardcore Punk fan, this is a very fast and blistering tune with socially aware lyrics over the top. Not danceable, but it a great headbanger of a tune that shines. Some people may find the fast tempo not to their tastes, but this is a great and fantastic two minute plus musical piece, despite that. It ends suddenly.
You’ll Never Make It begins with some excellent and complex drum patterns, more gurgling bass guitar, quickly launching into another Hardcore Punk piece. This is raw, brutal and aggressive musically speaking. A great and awesome listening experience, the lyrics point out the fact that none of us live forever, and that attempting to live forever is not worth it. In any case, this is a really amazing and wonderful listen that is super fast and brutal. Powerful music that isn’t Heavy Metal, Pennywise certainly make simple statements in music that comes alive. Excellent tune, this never gets boring, and it is much shorter than most Pop/Rock songs out there.
Every Time begins with a nicely melodic guitar riff, with the rest of the band following in its wake. This song is another consistent and enjoyable piece of music that sounds electric, enjoyable and fast. The guitar riffs and musicianship certainly deserve more appreciation than what one would typically give. In any case, this is a really great and amazing listening experience that shows that Punk based bands can make great music as well. A really top notch piece of music, this music sounds very good. There is a neat guitar solo in the second half, of which is very expressive. This is followed by a tom-tom breakdown and basslines, before singing and guitar playing resume. A fine tune to listen to, even for those who aren’t big on Hardcore Punk based music. This ends quickly.
Nowhere Fast begins with bass guitar, before going straight back into another Hardcore Punk styled song. This music is powerful, listenable and energetic. This is like drinking a can or two of Red Bull for breakfast, and the music is powerful and great simple Punk based sounding songcraft here to make one feel like that. Much better than some other Punk contemporaries work, such as The Offspring. In the second half is a heavy palm muted riff breakdown, with accompanied drums. A really fine and excellent listening experience, this song and album do impress upon hearing. Brutal and aggressive music.
What If I begins with a drum stick intro, quickly launching into a slower and more moody piece of Punk music than what came before it. This is a good surprise and turning point for this album, which makes a subtle break from the mostly Hardcore Punk based songs on this album. A very much wonderful listen, Pennywise show that variety even in a musical genre such as Hardcore Punk is really excellent. An awesome listen, slower and more Pop/Rock based than tracks before it. A really excellent listening experience, and something that is a cool tune to listen when doing some extreme sports or a similar activity. It ends abruptly.
Go Away launches straight into the action, and we are back into Hardcore Punk territory on this album. An energetic, youthful and enjoyable musical listen, the lyrics are about the purpose of Pennywise as a band. A really awesome, interesting and fantastic piece of music to listen to, these tunes are incredibly supercharged with action. More a musical concept than anything else really, these songs are great nonetheless. Less than two minutes long, this is not at all boring. Great music.
Did You Really? begins with launching straight into the song, with Hardcore Punk based sounds, yet again. This has some more unusual song structure present here. Still, Pennywise maintain their musical consistency on this track, and this is another killer tune by them. A really electrifying and enjoyable listen to this day, this music is great and amazing to hear. A fantastic listening experience from start to finish, this is another solid gold effort. Towards the end, the guitars and singing take centre stage, before leading towards the conclusion of this song. Powerful.
Bro Hymn is a tribute to the loss of the group’s former bassist Jason Thirsk, who committed suicide. This is a re-recording of an earlier Pennywise song, but with a dedication to the loss of their friend. Some background chatter begins this tune (likely a studio audience), followed quicky by bass guitar that is very much borderline electric guitar. Eventually, this song gets going and it sounds like a great singalong number by Pennywise. A great and upbeat listen that still sounds awesome today, the audience here sings along with the harmonies in the chorus. A really good listening experience, this sounds amazing and electric throughout. The whole tune is a great and more slow tempo number that Punk fans can enjoy. The playing and singing are wonderful on this piece. It has some really great palm muted guitar playing throughout. In the second half, this tune goes Hardcore Punk with the vocal harmonies, before chaotic drumming and guitars lead this tune back into action. A great and enthusiastic tribute to Pennywise’s former bassist and friend, this ends in a fantastic bit of drumming. Excellence. The crowd cheer nicely at the end, with the guys in Pennywise shouting, “We love you Jason!” in remembrance of their friend. Brilliant.
Unknown Road – Piano Version is the hidden track here. Again, this is a rehash from earlier Pennywise efforts, but it sounds moody and melodic. It’s enough to want to move one to tears with its sad and pretty melodies. Still, one can listen to this without crying and enjoy this as well. A great piece of music on its own, even if it is just piano. If you wish, you can stop this record by this point. This is Classical piano based music that is different. It slowly progresses onwards and sounds interesting and intricate. Unfortunately, having this rather depressing piece of music does drag down the appeal of the album quite a bit. It’s completely different to anything else out there musically by these guys. In any case, the playing is good, but this is depressing sounding and enough to put one to sleep. Seriously. These guys weren’t Classical musicians, after all. Despite that, one can appreciate the effort done here. The piano playing is quite good though. It eventually gets to a point that this is not really enjoyable, and you just want it to end. A good listen, but the length kills it here. Dreary music from Pennywise? Doesn’t make a lot of sense here. The playing and sections go on and on, and this tune isn’t the greatest to put onto a record. A good piece of music, but definitely odd to add this onto an album of Hardcore Punk music. This need not be on this album, it is hugely melancholy and depressing sounding. This is not what one would typically expect from Punk rockers. The second half of this tune isn’t really up to scratch, either. Pennywise are flogging a dead horse on this part of the album. In any case, the moodiness of this piece is not really appealing. A sad and odd tune. Given the minimalism of this piano solo, there is very little that can be added here, except that it quickly wears out its welcome. Banging one’s head against a brick wall is more fun than this. The length of the song is a real drag. If you are not asleep by the end of this, that is surprising. In any case, this is okay but just too long and in addition, wrong time and place for this music. It eventually ends after 13 minutes. Far too long to enjoy.
This album, except for the last hidden track, is a monumental Hardcore Punk piece of music that ticks all the right boxes. The songs for the most part are fast, powerful and melodic in their approach. Pennywise managed to create a really great album against all odds. This makes it very decent quality wise. Should you listen to this? Do give it a try if you like minimal music, just avoid the dreary piano piece at the end and your brain will thank you later.