VARIOUS ARTISTS: Unsound: CD+DVD

Epitaph’s Punk-O-Rama series has now become Unsound, and has an expanded musical format. As the label on the case boasts, it now includes emo, screamo, hardcore, punk, and hip-hop. Most of the songs are aggressive but still radio friendly and fit the standard that one might hear on your average alternative radio station. I didn’t like those songs. The ones that I did like are the out-and-out hardcore such as Converge, the tunes by Bouncing Souls and Bad Religion, and the hip-hop stuff from Dangerdoom, Sage Francis and From First to Last’s “Atticus” remix of “The Latest Plage.” While I did not find that a great deal of this record got my blood rolling the way that I would like (the “alternative” sounding songs were remarkably sterile), I also feel that records such of this are either long overdue or too few in number. Punk need not be, nor should it be, about rock’n’roll alone, and the mixing of genres herein is welcome. While I do not like all of the songs, and even outright loathe some of them, as a whole this record works simply as a result of the blessed variety of music. It has a DVD, too, but I didn’t watch it ‘cause it was live stuff mostly from the bands that I didn’t like so much.

 –Eric Carlson (Epitaph)