ALBUM REVIEW: OFF! – ‘Wasted Years’

Wasted Years is the latest release from hardcore punk outfit OFF!, a super-group of sorts featuring former members of acts such as Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Rocket From the Crypt and Hot Snakes, among others.

Recorded live to tape at the band’s LA practice space, this outing is noticeably darker then the band’s 2012 self titled debut. The album’s minimal production and woolly mix give everything an intensely raw feel to it.  The band channels this great manic energy on the album’s opener when Morris bursts in screaming “Break! You down! Grind! You up! Void! You Out!”. On ‘Legion of Evil’, a massive sludgy riff is interrupted  as Morris bursts into a tirade, lashing out at his targets with electrifying precision and evocative imagery . ‘Hypnotized’, the album’s longest song at over 2 minutes, is another high point of the album with its infectious chorus, whilst the decadent sound of ‘Death Trip on a Party Train’ provides some of its most fun moments as thundering riffs change at break-neck speed into anarchic melodies and choruses.

Wasted Years is 23 minutes of no frills hardcore. The 19 songs on this record reach out and grab you by the throat and shake you for a minute and a half before letting go, only to immediately start again. What you get with this record is raw, fast, straightforward hardcore done extremely well. The 19 tracks on this album fit well with each other from start to finish. Fans of the band will heavily enjoy this release because it shows the band doing what they do best; playing raw, honest, and angry hardcore with no bells and whistles. While Wasted Years doesn’t do anything which completely reinvents the genre, it does capture exactly how hardcore punk should sound.

Trygve Hjelle