Like all instinctive punk fans seventies punk and eighties hardcore will always fuel the passions no matter what major moments which have and will continue to follow that defining moment in time. There is no doubting that it is the same for Philadelphia hailing Battalion Zośka; all the evidence raising and roaring aggressive irritation within the band’s self-titled debut album. But there is no mistaking that its 13 slices of sonic and defiant belligerence are far more than echoes of inspirations and other’s glories. The album is a fresh breath and striking protagonist embracing the seeds which fired up us all decades past.
Formed in 2018, Battalion Zośka features members of hardcore punk outfits Violent Society and Combat Crisis and their sound provides a politically charged trespass as aggressively catchy as it is emotionally dissonant. Rhythms unapologetically bite as riffs harass and curse alongside similarly tetchy vocals, the hooks and enterprise conjured just as fractious and irresistible within one magnificent, rousing debut.
The quintet of Pat, Jim, Johnny, Jonas, and Milo set down the tone and character of the album from its first breath, opener A Country Divided rhythmically teasing attention before being entwined in alluring wires of guitar. The song soon hits its stride, threat and disobedience lining every note and subsequent syllable as inbred catchiness equally shapes its rousing incitement. With a great whiff of Angelic Upstarts meets The Lurkers to it and featuring the first of two guest appearance from Black Flag/ Misfits guitarist Dez Cadena, the track lone tells you all you need to know about the band’s sound and album, both swiftly compelling assaults.
Arm Everyone follows bringing an even thicker dissent and trespass to the senses; its hardcore breeding hungry and ill-tempered in its uprising while the album’s title track thrusts forward with rampant muscle and uncompromising resistance as an Exploited meets UK Subs hued subversion arouses. It is fair to say that together the three tracks had ears and appetite enslaved but the third truly sealed the deal.
Next up, Heather was no light weight in that union either, its strands of melodic wiring a delicious itch in the rich infectious nagging of the track. The song brings another guest to the release in the ever potent craft of Neil Newton, the Angelic Upstarts guitarist also giving fiercer flaming to Moral Coward two encounters later, that song a dirtily cantankerous seventies ripe invasion. In between the equally outstanding Island of the Lost Souls stamped its commanding authority on ears, every rhythmic swing an enticing bitch slap and chord a caustic tempting as it builds towards a chorus which just had body and throat bounding forward.
The subsequent assails of Oi! By Numbers and Sold & Bought did nothing to lessen the album’s grip; the first, an undisguised attack within a familiar yet unique sonic pillory with its successor a virulent Crisis-esque transgression. Each simply pummelled the spot before being rapaciously matched by the esurient assault and arousing of 80’s Kid, the song sharing the second ear grabbing appearance of Cadena.
A pop punk essence helps blossom even greater temptation within Once Again, its untamed Vibrators meets Adicts breeding an anthemic tonic for the spirit while the equally galvanic rallying of No More and Scum of the Streets with its feral indeed predacious stalking and sonic hounding only accentuated the impressive and inspiring body and disagreement of the album.
Completed by the carousing punk ‘n’ roll of The Beer Song, the Battalion Zośka album is simply punk rock at its most honest, uncomplicated yet imaginatively bred best. Expect to hear a lot more of the band as once its full-length stirs up a punk uprising of attention and lusty support they will have little choice but to submit to demand.
The Battalion Zośka album is released this June via Violated Records; available at http://www.violatedrecords.com/ and https://battalionzoska.bandcamp.com/album/battalion-zo-ka
Pete RingMaster 03/06/2019
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