Battered And Smashed
There’s no denying Total Chaos’ legitimacy in the political/peace-punk scene. The Pomona Valley, California, foursome have spent the past 20-plus years playing ’77-inspired punk rock, all the while working with likeminded organizations such as Food Not Bombs and the Los Angeles Anarchist Center. But Battered And Smashed is the sound of a band whose two-foot high Mohawks are wilting fast. Frontman Rob Chaos has never been known for his singing voice, but on this new batch of songs he sounds even more deadpan than usual, sometimes croaking out verses and choruses that should be delivered with way more passion. Another large problem with Total Chaos is, despite their sound being very signature street-punk, they have failed to progress their sound since their Epitaph glory years in the mid-’90s (see Patriotic Shock and Anthems From The Alleyway). If other punk bands like Rancid can adapt over the years with much success (even Rancid’s Indestructible, released in 2003, sounds a full decade fresher than Battered And Smashed), Total Chaos should also be able to step outside their comfort zone a bit and do something different. Save for the weak attempt at dub/ska during the intro, breakdowns on “Going Down” and the Oi!-flavored album closer “Riot Heart,” this album is extremely predictable. If speedy, chant-along punk with lots of power chords is your thing, it’s here—again and again and again.