Punk rock is such a funny, contradictory music. The less it gives a shit, the better it sounds.
Age Of Terror from Melbourne, Australia's Serial Pest, is a pure blast of primal punk tumult and revolt, against the increasingly conservative Australian government. They turn their withering gaze and ferocious guitars to everything from religious xenophobia ("Intifada") to right wing radio personalities ("Shock Jock Riot"). Like the political unrest of the late '70s and early '80s in the US and UK, it seems that Australians have a banner to rally under, which does so much to give music primacy and force.
Sonically, Serial Pest isn't reinventing the wheel. Social Pest deals in amped-up, stripped-down rock n’ roll with thick slabs of propulsive rock, bolstered with pummeling bass and shrieking, yowling vocals, laced through with furious feedback and strange noises.
Serial Pest hearkens back to a time when punk rock wasn't afraid to be nasty, to be unpleasant, to be angry and aggressive, even at the risk of sounding unpleasant. They're an update on the sarcastic rock of the Dead Kennedys, laced with a bit of mutant-like Amphetamine Reptiles misanthropy, along with a bit of their lumbering metallic underpinnings.
The only downside of this infatuation are punk/hardcore's somewhat less-than-masterful vocals. Serial Pest's vocalist features rough, garbled, throat-shredding, off-key, off-kilter vocals. At times it works, sounding like Iggy Pop's glory days, and at times it just seems out of tune and out of place.
It's no worries, though, as Serial Pest also underscores their primal rock fury with doses of catchy, boppy lysergic peppiness, a la The Ramones or even early Weezer, so Serial Pest's songs will stick in your ears while their messages stick in your brain.
That's the great thing about punk. You get to start where you are, speak your mind and learn while you go. If we all waited until we were perfect to speak our minds, this world would be a very quiet place, indeed.
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