SUBHUMANS: New Dark Age Parade: CD

Before all you anglophiles and hippie-punks get all hot ’n’ bothered, this isn’t the latest from Dick, Trotsky and the boys, but rather the new release by the legendary, recently reformed Canadian Subhumans, a late ‘70s/early ‘80s punk group that hailed from the same town as fellow-legends DOA, and even shared at least a couple of members with that group. Three-fourths of the original lineup—Wimpy Roy, Mike Graham and Gerry Useless (the latter once a punk rock poster boy as one of the “Vancouver 5,” who were convicted for a number of activist-oriented bombings in the ‘80s)—make the scene here, cranking out fourteen tracks of politically astute punk rock that wantonly skewers all the relevant topics of the day: macho shitheads, American foreign policy, religion, the cult of celebrity, class disparity, capitalism and public’s acquiescence of all of it. The tempos may have slowed a bit, there isn’t an immediate anthem like “Fuck You,” “Big Picture” or “Slave to My Dick” and there’s a bit of “rock” around the edges of a couple of songs, but on the whole this stands up quite nicely against their previous albums No Wishes, No Prayers and Incorrect Thoughts, and at worst is consistently above-average, which is more than DOA has been able to say in at least twenty years (mind you, I say this as a huge DOA fan who remains optimistic that Joey will soon find enough inspiration in the current global dysfunction to write and record a full album’s worth of visceral, mind-bogglingly good music that’ll reinvigorate my faith and whop me upside the head for ever doubting him). As someone who loved this band way back when, it’s not only nice to see them out and about again, it’s fuggin’ faboo to have ‘em making a racket that actually adds to, rather than detracts from, their lofty status as one of the greatest North American punk bands ever to grace a stage.

 –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)