Rotation 23

The Offspring
Smash
(Epitaph)
Sloppy and pointless, man.

That's what it comes down to with most thrash. A bunch of young punks unite themselves under the vague principle that anger is an excuse for sloth, and even stupidity. And there you have it. How many shitheads have propelled themselves up the idiot flagpole of fame hacking at electrocuted guitar strings and howling like miscreant coyotes? (Answer: Don't bother counting.)

I'd write off the whole gig if it weren't for the fact that every now and again a brain lands in the mosh pit. (Hey! Hey! Someone threw a brain in the mosh pit! Kill it! Kiiiiilllll it!).

We can cite here, finally, the Offspring's new disc Smash, a record that radiates enough power to squash Henry Rollins like the noisy little bug he is.

God, the playing is beautiful. Fast, furious, euphonious, and varied to the point of subversion. (Mix ska and death metal? How dare they!)

Here's what kills me: The band, a four-man outta Orange County A of all places A can write. As in words. Atop the lashing chords of "Self-Esteem," singer (yes, folks, he sings) Dexter Holland confesses: "I wrote her off for the tenth time today/And practiced all the things I would say/But she came over/I lost my nerve/I took her back and made dessert."

On "Bad Habit," Holland ponders that charming South Florida trend A automotive homicide. "When I show my piece/Complaints cease/Something's odd/I feel like I'm God/You stupid dumbshit goddam motherfucker." The music stops for the final line, and I must note that I personally have never heard profanity so richly, or ironically, enunciated.

Not content to cop a feel off the fashion of hate, Offspring manages to object without whining, to emote without raging, to thrash without flailing. The comparisons will be inevitable, since we have long ceased viewing bands as anything but derivatives of other bands, and anybody with half-functioning corpus callosum will quickly realize that Nirvana and the Chili Peppers don't hold a candle to these guy's farts.

It is with no small measure of sadness that Holland delivers the chorus of "Genocide:" "Dog eat dog/To get by/Hope you like my genocide."

Like it? I'd eat that shit for dessert.
-- By Steven Almond

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