It can get overwhelming if you think about it too hard – how much variation can be wrung out of the punk rock template by now? Hasn’t everything been done? How much mileage can you get from the same guitar/bass/drum/screaming vocalist?
Maybe a better question would be, is there still a way to take a simple formula and create something vital and new with it?
The answer, obviously, is yes. But it helps if you have the right set of players. For instance, take Seized Up, a punk supergroup consisting of members of Bl’ast, the Distillers, All You Can Eat, and Good Riddance who teamed together to create a fresh, current sound rooted in the hardcore and punk sounds of the early ’80s.
Pissed off with the world around them, Brace Yourself is a seven song, fifteen minute album that will recall the early years of hardcore pioneers Black Flag and the Circle Jerks tinged with a bit more rock. Remember in ’86 or so when punk bands started adding elements of metal or hard rock in their sounds? Seized Up is how they would sound if they were able to do it successfully.
Lead singer Clifford Dinsmore still has the pipes he exhibited in Bl’ast, especially in the intro to “Disasteroid Mutation” where he sneers “1964 – the year I was sentenced to be born” over a feedback intro and guitarist Danny Buzzard contributes a slashing combination of hard rock, metal, and punk guitar lines. The production on Brace Yourself is clean and clear, allowing all the players to shine. The tempo hits that sweet spot – a bit faster than mid-tempo, not as fast as thrash. Seized Up could be seen somewhat similar to OFF, Keith Morris’ punk supergroup, in that a handful of veterans successfully update the early ’80s hardcore sound without sounding like a museum piece, at a time when the players should be entering their “alt-country” or “punk-folk” phases.