Review Summary: I survived G.G. Allin and all I got was this lousy punk rock band
The group tasked with continuing G.G. Allin’s legacy didn’t really have an awful lot to live up to. Allin was an extreme and abhorrent individual, for whom it would always be difficult to find a replacement. No one was expecting his final backing band to surpass or even reach his fecal matter-laden benchmark in the years after his death, but the one thing they could do in his name was continue releasing punk rock, and, in all honesty, they haven’t made a bad stab at it. The songs are suitably short, sweet, and generally rather shocking. Allin’s extreme use of profanity and sexual references have been retained, both in the form of song titles as well as lyrical content. So what’s the problem" Well, Allin may not have possessed a wealth of charisma, wit or charm, but he sold what he did 100%. Every hateful verse he spat out during his relatively short career came from the bottom of his bile-fuelled soul, which made everything he said resonate; here was a man who was serious about what he did, and perhaps here is where he deserves the most credit. Leaving aside his stage antics and personal habits for a second, Allin believed in what he was doing. He believed in every word that he said. He possessed an intense disdain for any form of law or regulation, and was unafraid of everything and everyone; he lived to satisfy his own twisted whims, and in this sense, he was perhaps the most purely ‘punk’ individual to ever live. However, his old backing band do not possess this attitude; they possess a snappy self-awareness that may be refreshing on occasion, but for the most part comes across as unsophisticated, and nothing else.
The third and final of Allin’s backing bands to bear the name, Murder Junkies make a fairly unambiguous mission statement in their band name alone. It is clear, after having listened to the band, that there is a deliberate tongue-in-cheek aspect to a lot of the band’s music, and this manifests itself in their band name too. Unfortunately, this just serves to make the musical content seem that much more lackadaisical and immature, as opposed to ironically self-referential. Opening track ‘Once A Whore’ is an uninspired, heavily distorted shout-along track with a boring, repetitive riff and childish lyrics. There are really only so many times the lyrics, ‘Once a whore, always a whore! I wanna hurt you, I wanna kill yuhhhh’ can be ground out of vocalist Harold Roger’s throat before it begins to sound almost tragically stupid. Of course, taking cues from a number of more ‘classic’ punk rock bands, there is no shortage of solos on the album. Regrettably, none of them are technically proficient or even inventive enough to sustain the comically overproduced amount of time they feature on the tracks. Other tracks such as ‘48 Days’ and ‘Two Dicks In Your Mouth’ are sickeningly misogynistic and even more sickeningly repetitive, recycling the same dull drum, bass, and guitar rhythms to create a duo of truly dismal tracks.
‘Hated In Life’, taking its’ title from the documentary on Allin released in the 90s, has a distinctly groovier riff than surrounding tracks. It still smacks of insipid, simplistic punk rock, bur definitely has more of a hint of effort about it. The imaginatively titled ‘I Hate You’ and ‘Mass American Suicide’ are more of the same typically formed punk songs with a Murder Junkies paint job; aggressive, and almost annoyingly crass, which is thanks to some truly visionary lyrics. The best way of summing it up is: it’s pretty much what Allin would have wanted. Understandably, it’s mostly shock-rock fare this time around as opposed to the boundary-pushing lyricism Allin made a name for himself in, having been toned down considerably in terms of child abuse references and other aberrational material, but the violent and sexually depraved content is still ripe as ever and makes up the majority of the album’s content. In a certain way, the excessive nature of the content is refreshing, as it is definitely a rare occurance these days for any band to release music with minimal care aimed at social mores or political correctness. There does come a point, however, when musical quality has to stand over any quasi-political (whether intentional or not) message a band was intending to have, and in this case, if it was intentional, it’s an extrememly misguided commentary. If it was not, then there’s no excuse for a record as unoriginal as this.
The trend of this album is plain to see after a single glance; it’s a remarkably pedestrian effort for a band attributed more credit than they’re worth. There’s a distinct sense of glowering self-awareness on each track that makes every violent or sexual titbit feel awkward and silly, as opposed to the genuinely intimidating, D.I.Y delivery that Allin utilised. Even the album art screams immaturity, which depicts a Murder Junkies van (most probably their tour bus), speeding away from a bound, mutilated woman they’ve left in the middle of the road. It’s almost impossible to glance at it and not raise a dry smile. Not because the picture is funny, but rather because of the whole angle Murder Junkies try so hard to peddle their punk rock via; it’s raw, it’s contemptible, and completely reprehensible, and the bizarre thing is, it feels like they don’t even know. They don’t even do anything ‘wrong’, as such; there are no crimes against music, or even tracks that could be deemed unlistenable. To the contrary, there’s most probably a vast demographic of listeners for this band (probably aging skinheads waiting for the Sex Pistols to make a comeback). This release, though, is utterly bland. There’s nothing memorable or enjoyable about it, and it earns its’ 2.0 rating because it is, technically, still music.