D.O.A. – Fight Back (Album Review)

Globally renowned for devising the Hardcore movement in the early 1980s, Canadian Punk Rockers D.O.A. – Joey “Shithead” Keithley (Vocals, Guitar), Paddy Duddy (Drums), and Corkscrew (Bass) – are back at it again, taking names and ripping out ear drums via their new studio album, Fight Back. Set to drop on Tuesday, the first of May, 2018, on Keithley’s own label Sudden Death Records, Fight Back marks D.O.A.’s 40th anniversary and continues the band’s quest to produce no frills, do-it-yourself, eye-opening Punk Rock.

Since the band’s inception at the tail end of the 1970s, D.O.A. has been regarded as one of the most definitive and controversial names in the genre of Punk Rock. Beginning with the release of their appropriately titled debut album, 1980’s Something Better Change, Keithley has led D.O.A. on a mission he calls, “Talk-Action=0.” A notable fight, D.O.A stands up for social injustices such as racism, environmental degradation, and repressed freedom of speech, to name a few. For the less astute Punk Rock fans, Keithley was initially studying to be a civil rights lawyer before discovering his love for Punk Rock – a loud new voice for his cause.

Aside from fronting D.O.A., Keithley has authored two books – his biography, I Shithead: A Life in Punk and, the D.O.A. visual illustration, Talk-Action=0. Not to be forgotten, after decades of trying to change the system from the outside, Keithley is currently making a push to change the world from inside the system as the frontman is running for Mayor of his hometown –  Burnaby, British Columbia. A legendary career, selling over a million albums in four decades, D.O.A. has released CD racks worth of rowdy albums including 1981’s game changer Hardcore ’81, 1985’s Let’s Wreck The Party, and the 1982 EP War on 45. Spanning generations, D.O.A. has been credited as influencing the biggest legends in modern Rock such as Dave Grohl, Green Day, and Henry Rollins – conceiving new voices to spread D.O.A.’s emphatic message.

All this said, the godfathers of Hardcore follow-up 2015’s Hard Rain Falling with Fight Back, a brash new arsenal of songs consisting of the three-chord assault for which Punk Rock is infamous. The raucousness begins via the harsh “You Need An Ass Kickin’ Right Now” followed by the anti-police brutality PSA “Killer Cops.” Standing up for your freedom, the anthemic “Time To Fight Back” kicks off with a hooky intro before D.O.A. fight for the right to drink good beer on “We Won’t Drink This Piss.” A defiant “Just Got Back From The USA” precedes a self-explanatory “You Can’t Stop Me.” Then, “Gonna Set You Straight” is the right way to cut someone down to size before “State Control” warns big brother is watching but D.O.A refuses to obey.

On “The Last Beer,” the memory of sharing the last drink with a friend who is gone is a fine tribute for any listener who can relate to this feeling (“There’s an empty chair where you used to sit“). As “The Cops Are Comin'” and “I’m Desperate” roll on, “Wanted Man” tells of being wanted by the law everywhere as the catchiest tune on the album. Befitting the state of the world today, “World’s Been Turned Upside Down” is a sign of the times as the final cut on Fight Back.

As a number of Punk Rock’s iconic bands have faded into music history – Ramones, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Sex Pistols – D.O.A. are alive and well on Fight Back. Longtime fans of D.O.A. will be pleasantly corrupted by the tumultuous and direct messages delivered by Fight Back. Even more exciting for fans, in support of Fight Back, D.O.A. are embarking on a tour of the U.S. and Canada beginning May 21st in Salt Lake City, UT through late July, in what should be a very real experience. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Fight Back 3 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Fight Back:

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