Label: Peaceville Records
Violation Wound are more punk than you. The three-piece, led by Autopsy’s Chris Reifert, were born from a desire to create beer-soaked, utterly unfashionable underground punk rock; and they completely deliver. With Man in Charge sees the band continue their impressive rate of recordings (at least an album or split every year since 2014, thus far), and unleashes 20 songs of take-no-prisoners, crude as fuck punk rock that sounds like it could have been a long-lost 80’s recording (other than the fact that it actually has a decent production, that is). Clocking in at 34 minutes, this is over in a flash, leaving you bruised, bloody, and having had a hell of a time.
Let’s be honest: if you’re familiar with Poison Idea, early Misfits, or early American hardcore in general, then there’s nothing on With Man in Charge that you haven’t heard before. But, that’s part of the point and the appeal of an album like this. Music like this might seem easy to write, but to write it well and play it with passion and heart is another thing entirely; and god-damn, do Violation Wound absolutely nail those points. This album is soaked in old sweat and stale beer, full of violence and riffs that will kick your ass. It’s a real rush of energy, and an utter blast.
Picking out individual songs feels slightly redundant, as an album like this is all about the overall impact, but even so there are moments that stand out. The bass leads on ‘Selling Your Soul for Damage Control’ are excellent, and lead single ‘Stalemate Suicide’ – the longest song on the album, at just over three minutes – opens up from a groove-laden introduction into a blast of old-school energy and violence. ‘Destroy the Factory’, meanwhile, feels like The Dead Kennedys at their most vital. It might not be all that original, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of With Man in Charge, or the fact that it is, frankly, fucking awesome.
That is what is important about With Man in Charge. At a time when punk rock has been almost completely co-opted by the mainstream, and the style has lost a lot of its original danger and spirit of protest and revolution, albums like With Man in Charge will remind you of why the genre can be so vital and important. It is a lot of fun, but it’s also an album that is deeply defiant, raising a middle finger at society and doing whatever the hell it wants, whilst blasting out some awesome tunes. It’s bloody brilliant, and if you’ve ever fallen for the sound of power chords and high-tempo drumming, all topped off with ugly vocals and a spirit of protest, then you’ll want to be all over this.