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Music Review: D.I. – On The Western Front

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Orange County punk rock act D.I. is back with a brand new album On The Western Front. This is their first release in over 10 years since the band reunited back in 1995. The CD was put out by Suburban Noize, a label more commonly known for rap/rock albums (Kottonmouth Kings, Big B, OPM).

Lead singer Casey Royer was the original drummer for Social Distortion, but left to work on The Adolescents before forming D.I. The band has been a cluster of friends throughout the years with members coming and going. When members left for various reasons, there was always a friend to help out. Casey has been the only original member and is the heart of the band.

Any true punk rocker has seen the movie Suburbia, the 80’s classic punk rock film that had a live performance of D.I. playing “Richard Hung Himself.” Seeing that movie when I was a kid got me interested in punk rock music, and I immediately had to check out D.I. If you have no idea what I am talking about, and like the classic punk rock sound, then you need to go out and find this movie.

Starting off the CD is the title track “On The Western Front.” Upon hearing this CD, one might mistake the age of this band and find it hard to believe that they have been around for so long. This is a high energy punk rock song, with Casey Royer singing about his hate towards the California legal system. Once I heard this track, I knew I was in for a good album.

“OC’s Burning,” follows the opening track. Here, Casey Royer has no problem speaking his mind on what the O.C. (Orange County) has turned into, and declares “We must fight back, we’re taking Orange County back.”

I thought “Punk Rock Suicide” was another great track. The song is an ode to the musicians who we have lost over the years due to personal battles and natural causes. The song itself reminded me a lot of Fear and had a great little guitar solo to end the track. This song unquestionably resurrects the 80’s punk rock sound at its finest.

Almost sounding like a song you should hear in the movie Fight Club, “Skate Or Die,” is a quick little punk attack that will get the pit moving at a live show.

My favorite song on this album is “Voices.” I cannot get enough of this track, and am currently trying to convert it into a ringtone for my cell phone. The chorus line “voices in my head,” has been stuck in my own head since I first listened to it. Hearing a song like this one reminded me of why I like punk so much. The song is simple and fun — without an overproduced feel to it.

“Just Like You,” reminded me a lot of something Pennywise might have done. The song has your typical back-up vocals with guitar riffs, and the lyrics express sickness towards egomaniacs.

For a band that was such a hidden treasure in the 80’s, I really think that this CD is going to help get their name back out there. Thanks to great friendship over the years, this band has come back to the scene and put out a really great punk rock CD. If you like your punk short and sweet, then this CD really is something you need to have in your collection. Any fan of Guttermouth, the Offspring, TSOL, or punk rock music in general owes it to themselves to check what D.I. is up to all these years later.

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About Brian McConville