Destruction Made Simple is your typical SoCal skate-punk band, and Terror Stricken Youth is exactly the kind of music you’d expect to hear at the Warped Tour. But that, it turns out, is a good thing. Typical or not, Destruction Made Simple takes a staple sound and makes it remarkable.
The five-piece dedicated Terror Stricken Youth, its debut, to the memory of Joe Strummer, but the music is hardly Clash-esque. The band’s sound is hardcore with a splash of ska and occasional heavy-metal influences in the guitar riffs. They have the whole metal-meets-hardcore vibe; “Blackbird Trail,” even features a female vocalist backing Raul Landeros. The vocals are pretty clear for a hardcore band, which is good, because Landeros actually brings up some great social and political commentary in his lyrics. On “The End” and “Immigrant” the band touches upon their protest of the war in Iraq and their own Hispanic backgrounds.
Despite of the ska feel, Destruction Made Simple has a pretty heavy sound without trying too hard. Some other notable songs off the album are “Destruction Made Simple,” “Saint Jude” and the final track “Dollars.” These tracks are examples of the wonderful pairing of bassist Eric Martinez’ loud and energetic riffs with Landeros’ passionate vocals. The ska sound comes through with Heliodoro Medina’s drums and cymbals, and it enlivens the sound and saves the band from coming off as too dark and gritty.
Still, the band has room to grow. Destruction Made Simple is only two years old, which could account for the lack of variety; it seems like they have found what they are good at and are avoiding experimentation with different sounds. The outcome is an album that has an old punk-rock sound but new hardcore flavor. Destruction Made Simple has taken what other bands in its genre are trying to do and improved it, mostly by not sounding like an over-hyped tribute band. This is an album for both punks and metal heads who like their music loud, fast and full of energy, track after track.