Authority Zero

Stories of Survival

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When the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Dead Boys, the Ramones, and the Germs were raising hell back in the late '70s, "longevity" wasn't exactly the first word that came to mind when one thought of punk bands. Punk, after all, was so combustible, so raw, and so darn volatile that few of the angry youths who were blasting "Anarchy in the U.K." or "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" back then could have imagined that punk would be having such a huge impact 32 or 33 years later. But in fact, punk's influence only increased as time passed -- and 1990s/21st century bands like Authority Zero have demonstrated that rockers can maintain the spirit and attitude of punk even if they don't sound like punk purists 100 percent of the time. That attitude is alive and well on 2010's Stories of Survival, which finds Authority Zero continuing to fight the power 16 years after their formation. Punk isn't the band's only influence on this 41-minute CD, but it is a main ingredient on every one of the songs. Stories of Survival is part of the time-honored tradition of punk as protest music; politically and socially, there have been plenty of things to be angry about in the 21st century, and Authority Zero unleash plenty of anger on this album. But Stories of Survival isn't one-dimensional. There are a lot of fast tracks, although the Arizona agitators slow things down when they incorporate reggae and get into a Sublime-ish groove on "Movement" and "Big Bad World." And even though "The Remedy" draws on ska (which was reggae's fast-tempo predecessor in Jamaica) rather than reggae, it still favors the type of moodiness that characterizes "Movement" and "Big Bad World." But whether Authority Zero are playing fast or slow -- or somewhere in between -- there's never any doubt that Stories of Survival is a protest album. And while this 41-minute CD doesn't break any new ground for Authority Zero, it's an inspired, focused effort that does nothing to alienate longtime fans.

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