With a forceful debut album that is equal parts piss and vinegar, punk rockers Virus Nine kick out the proverbial jams with an unabashed joie de vivre unheard of since Rancid's early efforts. From the opening riff to the last ringing chords, What Are You Afraid Of? rocks hard, Virus Nine successfully mixing the spirit of 1977 with a rough-hewn hardcore style, channeling the Clash, the Damned, Sham 69, and Black Flag into 15 perfectly formed two-minute musical gems. Songs like "Us and Them" or "'82" take a decidedly political bent, the members of Virus Nine no shrinking violets when expressing their blue-collar disdain for the ruling class. Other cuts on What Are You Afraid Of? hew closely to the bloody-knuckles punk aesthetic of bands like the Hudson Falcons, "Working" an inspired ode to the old 9 to 5, "Moment" an introspective look at a hard life and hard choices. "Generation Hexed" serves as the soul of the album, an anthemic jab at the heart of society, a defiant proclamation similar to Richard Hell's "Blank Generation." Whereas the poet/intellectual Hell was satisfied with merely being ignored by society, working-class heroes Virus Nine throw caution to the wind and demand attention, the members of "Generation Hexed" ready to fight for social justice and dignity. Delivered with broken-glass vocals, raging guitars, and racing rhythms that would pace a Maserati, "Generation Hexed" proves Virus Nine to be a hard-as-nails punk posse to reckon with. Oi! indeed....
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AllMusic Review by Rev. Keith A. Gordon