It’s true that you can think something to death which is what the title, Cognicide, of Western Addiction’s new album means. Punk rock often veers between extremes of too much thinking and too little. Western Addiction straddles the fence both musically and lyrically while recalling the greatest hardcore punk of the past. The song “The Church Of Black Flag” isn’t on the album for nothing.
Cognicide takes me back to those days when I first started going to punk shows. I was just a young suburban dope on punk scared and thrilled at the same time venturing into the middle of a slam dance at a Circle Jerks show. It was sparsely attended, but I was in awe of the punks milling at the front of the stage. Leather jackets, died hair, mohawks, and Doc Martens stood in stark contrast to my jeans and a tee-shirt. The opening band was some high school kids who made up for their lack of ability by their intensity. Then the Circle Jerks came on and delivering a ripping set of hardcore punk and goofball metal. Western Addiction recalls that era of the 80′s well.
“Charged Words” opens the record with a wallop that you should get used to because there’s no let up. Revel in the fun noise and paranoia of “Mailer, Meet Jim” which has the timely lyric line “so forget husbandry and no more baking bread, one careless crow and now I’m f**king infected.” There’ll be no striking a pose with “We Tech Supported A Manipulator” and “Incendiary Minds” channels Greg Ginn in its intro. “It’s Funny, I Don’t Feel Like A Winner” is a slamming stomper that should inspire some black eye mosh pits worldwide. “Matrons Of The Canals” has a groovy intro that has an ominous Dead Kennedys vibe. Most songs begin ponderously slow until exploding into vehement shards of melody among the noise.
Western Addiction bear a reverence to the past without falling victim to mere homage or parody. If you thought great punk was no longer happening. That it had only become something you could buy at a Hot Topic store, think again. Cognicide is right up there with with some of the best punk albums ever recorded.