Man, I really love Canadian punk rock. So many good bands, from SNFU and Nomeansno, right up through Fucked Up and Propagandhi. They all seem to possess a slightly different sense of melody and structure that makes the songs just a bit more…perhaps organic? I’m not sure what it is exactly, but Joey Shithead and DOA are the Godfathers of Canadian Punk and this compilation of their early years serves as a good reminder why. According to the CD, this was just reissued this year, but I’m not really sure if that means it was remastered too. Either way, songs like “The Prisoner”, “World War III”, and “Smash the State” are adrenaline rush punk anthems with catchy riffs that shouldn’t work but do, drumming that’s snappy as hell, and Joey leading up the whole thing through with his vocals that sounds like a three-way collision of a speed freak, a bear growl, and the guy that works at the local hardware store that’ll keep you up to date on the latest news whenever you go in. The song “I Don’t Give a Shit” is one of the few non-Joey sung tracks, but something about that song tends to dig right into the skull despite no real discernable hook and a chorus that I’m relatively sure is made up of belches. Even the slow, almost shuffly, “Whatcha Gonna Do?” is pretty damn bodacious. About the only thing I don’t like here, for whatever reason, is “Rich Bitch” because it just kind of seems to sit there and never really does anything interesting. All in all, this is a great place to start with DOA, as it’s basically their greatest hits for the early years when most people say they were at their peak. I would also recommend the career-spanning compilation Peace and War because, despite all the “only get the early stuff” opinions you hear about DOA, they definitely had some excellent stuff throughout their whole career, even if they may have never again matched the pure adrenalin rush of “The Prisoner.” Man, that is such a good song.
–Adrian (Sudden Death)