The odds are going to be against you when you decide to re-record a punk classic 30 years later. With a well-worn gruff voice, 62-year-old Lee Ving is as forceful on the mike for The Fear Record as he was in his prime. That's the good news. However, despite the misleading packaging, this is hardly Fear's The Record. The band underwent a complete overhaul since then, and bassist Paul Lerma, guitarist David Stark, and drummer Andrew Lee Jaimez joined the fold to help Ving with the perplexing chore of re-creating the 1982 staple track by track. The power punch of modern recording adds a rounder and beefier grain to the songs, making it a little more 2012. The performance of the rhythm section is rock-solid, and Lee Ving gives it his all. Still, the reason why this was made is a complete mystery. The '80s version is obviously the way to go. It's a perfect snapshot of the snottiest band of the punk movement baiting everyone and everything around them through severely sarcastic numbers like "I Love Livin' in the City" and "Let's Have a War." Finances played into the band disbanding before, so there is a good chance that this version was devised as a way to cash in. Even if the reasons are more innocent, and Ving believed that his time spent playing the guitar parts live for three decades would help him update his masterpiece, times have changed. The sexism of "Beef Baloney" and homophobia of "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones" are less apt to be forgivable in the politically correct environment of 2012, which is why several lyrics were altered. This also seems like a strange move, since pushing buttons with shock value seemed to be the whole point.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover