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on 25 June 2012
This album contains spades of what the germans call 'Earworms' - songs that you just cannot get out of your head. I must confess to losing sight of this band over the last 10 years, so cannot say how this compares to their more recent output.
It is immediately obvious, however that there has been no radical change of direction in the meantime - this is fast melodic punk right out of the top drawer. The singer has changed though, which was cause for concern. Thankfully this new chap with the funny name (with respect to Jim,) sounds like he has been there for ever. Honestly.
However, if you have a problem with the Offspring's Dexter Holland, you may have issues here.
The songs have an urgency and energy to them, and the guitars still have that harder edge that stop the melodies tipping over into the mainstream. The production is A1 and you will be bouncing around the room right from the first chords of the superb opener 'All or nothing' - so perhaps be careful about putting it on in the car!
The guitarist reckons this album number 10 might be their best, and although every band always says that, it will certainly put a smile on your face
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on 6 July 2012
I was nervous before listening to this album, Pennywise - one if the bands that got me into punk over a decade ago with the singer of Ignite - the band who wrote possibly the best punk album of the 00's (Our Darkest Days - do yourself a favour and buy it). These fears were ill founded however, the bratty catchiness of classic Pennywise mixed with the power and emotional honesty of Ignite is a potent combination. The songs bury themselves in your head and you are humming them for days. This has the potential to be a classic album... It is in my car and on my wife's iPod and it is there to stay. This is worth five stars and nine quid any day of the week.
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on 21 August 2012
Along with Overkill's Electric Age, this is another album that I have struggled to review. However, the context is slightly different. While I love my punk and hardcore, I have always gone for the more classic sound rather than the later melodic hardcore style. Therefore, while I've enjoyed much of Pennywise's back catalogue, it has only been with a passing interest and not as an avid fan. I think it's fair to let people know this before they read on.

The earlier Pennywise stuff was simple, direct, rabble-rousing sing-along hardcore. It relied heavily on Bad Religion and Dag Nasty and was not at all adventurous but who cares? Solid stuff that would drive any decent punk wild when played live. The band slowly began to change - to grow up, I suppose is one way to put it - and their sound developed into something more subdued and less catchy. Loyalists, as they do with all bands that change (Offspring, AFI, Green Day as more commercial and, arguably, extreme examples), excused the changes and found something to take from the music; the rest of us sort-of switched off. And then, out of nowhere, Jim decided to quit on vocals and some shows were played before Zoli of Ignite was brought in. I was intrigued, even excited. Ignite have released some great hardcore albums and Zoli is a more varied vocalist and (I thought) a good lyricist. The songs heard prior to purchase sounded promising (one great, one okay). I saw it cheap in a shop and I thought 'why not?'

So, what's it like then? Musically, it is the return to form that any reasonable person could hope for. The band are older, wiser and their most intense days are gone. However, there are plenty of good riffs and sing-along catchy moments on the album. It's true to the old sound but it's hitting the ground running ten years on. It's not their best album music-wise but it's competitive. However, the songs suffer from a horrible attempt at lyrics. Jim was a solid lyricist, fairly generic but never cheesy, generally sincere. Zoli, like I said has written some interesting and strong stuff lyrically with Ignite. So, initially I was shocked at the poor quality of the lyrics. How did this happen? Easy answer: the lyrics weren't written by him. I guess he joined the band after they had the music and lyrics already written. The result is an album filled with cliched themes ('Revolution') and corny rhymes ("We'll never know until we try/The time is now it's all or nothing/We are alive, it's do or die/We must believe it's all or nothing"). Wrapped in the softer vocals, it all grates a bit - Stand Strong as a prime example, catchy but irritating as hell.

In conclusion then, the music would probably merit four stars and could have been boosted by a superior lyrical content to even a theoretical full five. However, the lyrics being so uninspired actually draws away from the music. I've had this album for a few months and while my initial response was positive, my overall feelings are of dissatisfaction. It will do the loyalists and it may convert a few that were lost on the way but this is not the new Pennywise classic that some have claimed it or hoped it to be.
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on 24 June 2012
All or Nothing rates alongside the best of Pennywise. There is an energy and freshness to every track. Jim Lindberg leaving the band may turn out to be just what was needed for the guys! This is an absolute must for any Pennywise fan.
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on 15 May 2015
Probably have given them this high rating due to my great love of rise against who are very similar. Their fast pace thrash metal drumming and powering Base lines will have you head banging and singing along in no time especially to tracks such as "revolution" and "xgeneration.
Lead singer has powerful voice although not pitch perfect I dont believe this sort of genre needs that especially when shouting your thoughts and problems about today's world. Not many solos.but also not really needed and songs can sound a bit repetitive if your not used to the thrash metal genre. Still a fantastic album to give a good listen to.
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on 19 October 2014
100 % satisfied
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