Star Strangled Bastards

    Whose War Is It?

    5.5
    Go Kart - March 14, 2003

    “This is a slice of American life, and if you don’t like it, bite something else,” states Star Strangled Bastards in the introduction of the band’s first full-length, Whose War Is It? Harsh guitar chords pick up as the tirade continues: “What are you gonna do when the police show up to your house at two o’clock in the morning to arrest you because the government has decided you are a threat because of your race, religion, political beliefs, where you come from, or the way you dress?”

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    As Star Strangled Bastards go on to spew about persecution in good ol’ America instead of a tiny, far-off country with a name you could never pronounce, you can tell they’re not about making a safe first impression — a quality often absent in our current green-, orange-, and red-alerts society.

    Having shared members with such infamous punk acts as D.R.I. and Battalion of Saints, Orange County-bred Star Strangled Bastards shoves you back to the hardcore/punk sounds of the ’80s. Reminiscent of the Exploited’s The Massacre through its metal-edge and strong trash influence, Star Strangled Bastards combine the fast beats of punk with non-stop thick metal guitars that, thankfully, avoid spurring images of long-haired, greasy headbangers and metalheads.

    The band alternates between songs about class war (a theme shared with the Exploited) and split-second shifts over blunting the blame for stealing someone’s weed and alcohol, showing they don’t take themselves too seriously to sing about sometimes-stupid personal aggravations. The band’s short and to-the-point songs, usually wavering between two and three minutes, suit the music well, as the Bastards lack a steady, catchy beat.

    Star Strangled Bastards’ in-your-face attitude isn’t likely to go well with the newest emergence of young punkers who like a little more beat with their music. But for those who want a shift back to a harder music of a harder time it’s a new alternative to digging through your record collection for that Discharge album you’ve already heard a billion times.

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