Proving a band skilled in boiling up attitude, belligerence, and defiance into prime slices of rousing punk rock through their self-titled debut album, BATTALION ZOŚKA recently uncaged its predecessor, New Blood. A 16-track fury of rage and confrontation bred in seventies punk and eighties hardcore, the album proves that the Philadelphia outfit was no flash in the dispute coated pan; indeed declaring them one vital proposition in the punk rock landscape.
Formed in 2018 by vocalist Pat Society of VIOLENT SOCIETY, BATTALION ZOŚKA certainly announced themselves in striking style with that first full-length back in 2019. With a sound unashamedly embracing those nostalgic inspirations the album equally proved a fresh breath as the band sculpted tracks with firm individuality. A subsequent line-up change saw long-time producer and engineer Arik Victor join the line-up on guitar with drummer Steve Vaiani, and alongside Society, guitarist Jim Roadie and bassist Jonas Image the band soon set about writing and recording new songs which would become New Blood.
Featuring a host of guests across its emotive trespass and sonic uproar, the album immediately gripped ears with its opener, The Infection. Its initial rhythmic shuffle is striped by sonic soughs before it all erupts in a devilish surge of hook loaded riffs and rapacious beats; a fertility matched in the vocals. We liken the band’s sound to something akin to a fusion of ANGELIC UPSTARTS, CRISIS and DISCHARGE with a BILLY BIO hue yet as this track soon proves, there is heady individuality to it which sets it apart from any reference.
Swiftly addictive and participation involving, it is an outstanding start to the release which is more than cemented by Everyday’s the Same. The first of four tracks featuring guitarist Dez Cadena (Black Flag/ Misfits), it calmly saunters in though Vaiani is openly poised to launch his rhythmic voracity. Soon his swings are indeed biting as riffs and vocals share their disagreement in contagious style, that old school punk breeding a spark for ears and a long time established appetite.
Reoccurring Dream jabs and moves with pugilistic agility next, again familiar essences twisted into BATTALION ZOŚKA originality within a track as predacious as it is virulent. Once more Society’s tones growl as uncompromisingly as its lyrical snarl yet are pure invitation to the enterprise crafted body and heart and of the song while Kids provides a more untamed but no less catchy proposal with a UK Subs-esque lure to it, one again enhanced by Cadena’s distinctive guitar prowess.
It is fair to say that the album is a constant blaze of craft and dexterity, the rhythmic cunning of Vaiani and Image springing rousing manipulation and the guitars of Victir and Roadie similarly gripping incitement as too the guesting craft of Fish (SKEPTIX/ DISCHARGE) within Warszawa. A weave of melodic vining through aggressive persuasion, the track swiftly got under the skin, a welcomed trespass further orchestrated by Society’s great vocal thrust with its almost showground barker like presence, one soon stirring eager attention within the contagion loaded hard rock ‘n’ roll of the participation irresistible Slipping Away and the outstanding invitation of Greetings From Blackpool. We mentioned ANGELIC UPSTARTS earlier and the latter of this pair welcomes that band’s guitarist Neil “Newts” Newton to its intimate grievance, itself another slice of rebellion rousing uproar.
As Blank Stare galloped across the senses with blistering apathy challenging ferocity and Bad Things raised its middle finger in infection soaked carousing, both tracks a palette of punk familiarity and imagination igniting ingenuity, New Blood only urged greater plaudit sharing involvement with the following galvanic attributes of Outside View adding to it as it took us back in time with its very fine version of the EATER classic. They are a band close to our hearts having known frontman Andy Blade so it was added pleasure seeing the UK outfit’s bassist Ian Woodcock and guitarist Brian Chevette bringing the track back with a keenly fresh breath.
The album’s title track bared its varied rock instincts next; classic and hard rock magnetically aligning with new wave and early pop punk inclinations, Newton’s involvement adding to its captivation before Tried & Failed had us moving and voicing it’s thoughts like its puppet and Thick In The Head with its orchestration of rhythms and hooks had us trapped and insisting we joined Society in his accusation loaded hollering.
And that is another of the impressive qualities of the album, every song drew the keenest involvement; rich persuasion and success equally brought to bear by the final trio of the devilishly manipulative Kiss the Ring, the exceptional ’77 kilned So Fine, and Poison River with its punk ‘n’ roll condemnation.
United they sprung a mighty end to a monumental release. We rightly shared the first BATTALION ZOŚKA album as something special but you want the truth? New Blood easily leaves it in its shade.
New Blood is out now via Violated Records; available digitally and on CD and vinyl @ https://battalionzoska.bandcamp.com/album/new-blood
Pete RingMaster 01/02/2023
Copyright RingMaster Review
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