Despite the tragic loss of guitarist Stefanie Sargent, Viva Zapata! represents a musical leap forward for 7 Year Bitch, finding the group's attack cleaner, with a stronger sense of groove. Just as importantly, more of the songs here employ actual hooks, including "Hip Like Junk," and a cover of Jim Carroll's "It's Too Late," and the near-ballad "Damn Good and Well." But the album's most powerful moment comes with "M.I.A.," an alternately sad and angry tribute to band inspiration and slain Gits leader Mia Zapata. Contrary to what some punk purists might assume, 7 Year Bitch hasn't lost an ounce of passion on Viva Zapata!; they've just learned how to channel it better.
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey