"We all have different ways to measure how much we like an album. Some people know within the first few songs wether or not they will REALLY like something. Others have to take it in a few times before they make up their minds. Me, I vary. Sometimes I know right away. Then there are times when I really listen to it and pick it apart before I can make a final decision. Every now and then there are times when I listen to an album with my mouth agape and eyes wide in a stunned silence. I first gave Strength In Numbers a listen on a drive from Milwaukee to Chicago (about an hour and a half travel time). As soon as it was done, I cued it up again and gave it another listen. You may be asking, is it really THAT good? Yes. Yes, it is.
Getting right into it, don't try to slap a genre tag on Drug Shock. They are a gloriously unholy combination of punk rock, oi, and bad ass street rock riffs that will pummel that shit out of you if you're not careful. If you need comparisons, I would say they are closest to Oxymoron in the way they play full bodied street punk, but the guitar work screams The Bruisers á la "Better Days." Every now and then, especially on songs like "Burn The Bastards" or "Detained On Arrival", I hear a simple Oi back beat similar to the Anti-Heros or Combat 84. If you really want to hear what they are capable of simply listen to the first 32 seconds of "Vermin." Every musician is able to showcase their talents. Hell, even the bass player throws in a little fancy noodling that will put a smile on anybody's face. There is a thunderous rasp in the vocal delivery that reminds me most of Mark Noah which is evident throughout the album, but really stands out the most on "Speed Freak." I even feel like there's a certain Johnny Rotten-esque snottiness in the delivery of the verses of "Smash and Grab." This is why I said don't try to slap a label on this band. They are so multifaceted and combine so many different elements of underground music you can't simply deem them as playing one style.
They aren't just all flash with no substance. These guys can write some really good songs too. I think "Burn The Bastards" is the perfect song to sum up discontent with the political system. "It's pressure on the backs of the working class as the government deals in corporate greed." Perfect. Following "Burn The Bastards" is a straight up punk rock, antisocial jam. "I Hate Everything" is pretty simple with its message. Sometimes the world is a dick and you just feel like you hate everything. Everybody has felt that way and probably muttered those exact words to themselves. From the birth of punk, "1976", to the ravages of addiction, "Speed Freak", Drug Shock covers a wide array of topics on this album. There is one song that I think is an absolute anthem waiting to be unleashed on the masses. One song that everyone who goes to see the band should know like the back of their hand. A tune that builds and builds before finally breaking in a sonic tidal wave coming through your speakers. "Vermin" is a song for every punk/skin/hardcore kid/whatever you are to belt out with pride. A song that firmly plants the underground flag and declares "Try as you might, you can't get rid of us. We aren't going anywhere." So damn good.
I hope this helped paint a good picture of what to expect from Drug Shock. Head over to their Facebook page and take a listen for yourself. You won't regret it. This album isn't out yet, but the good people at Rebel Sound Music and Joe Pogo Records are releasing it in the coming weeks. Pre-orders are up now at the Rebel Sound webpage. Only 500 albums are going to be pressed so get in on this while you can. Once your pre-order the record, you can download it instantly so you can start rocking out right away! As a side note, the art work on this album is fucking amazing! The cover was done by a great artist who happened to draw up the Oi! of America logo for our Facebook page. A huge shout out and show of respect to our friend, and Milwaukee's own, Richie Murry! Now stop reading and go buy this album!"
4.90 Oi's out of 5!
For fans of Oxymoron, Braindance, Anti-Heros, Sniper 66, Lower Class Brats, Bad Co. Project
Written by Jerry Milwaukee
released 15 October 2014
All songs written by John 'Pugs' Licitra
All lyrics written by Todd Strempel
Recorded by Carlo Frese
Mix/Mastered by Tom Gardner
Additional over dubs by Tom Boudreau
Cover Art by Richie Murry
Rebel Sound Music & Joe Pogo Records 2014