Transplants

In a Warzone

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    7
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The punk rock super group of Rancid's Tim Armstrong, blink-182's Travis Barker, and roadie-turned-rapper Rob Aston made a splash with a couple records in the early 2000s before going their separate ways in 2005. The albums were an interesting mix of hip-hop, dub, and punk rock that featured Barker's powerful drumming, Aston's barking raps, and Armstrong's sonic experimentation. When the trio got back together in 2010 to begin working on new material, they stripped down their sound and focused on the punk rock aspect, making In a Warzone sound more like a Rancid album than a mash-up of the three musicians' interests. Apart from two tracks that fold in some rapping and hip-hop swagger (the almost Sugar Ray-sounding "Something's Different" and the old-school rap-rock "It's a Problem"), the order of the day is pounding, angry punk with Aston doing more singing than rapping, the guitars howling and lyrics that touch on politics and not giving a fuck. Fans of the first two albums that liked the chances the band took and appreciated the variety and flavor of the songs might feel a little let down here, but punk rock diehards should be happy with the hardcore-inspired songs ("Silence," "In a Warzone") and the overall snarl of the voices and guitars. There's also plenty of Armstrong's patented woozy slur and his myth-making Clash rock to keep his devotees satisfied, though it's hard not to wish he did all the singing. It's sort of unfair to Aston to be teamed with one of the most distinctive voices -- he does a decent job keeping up but really it's like having an all-star pitcher on your team but sending out a journeyman hurler out to pitch the big game instead. That being said, there are enough good songs and enough energy on hand to make In a Warzone a solid release; less interesting than previous efforts, but still fun in an aggressive way.

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