Pasadena Napalm Division: S/T

Stoked probably isn’t the word we’re searching for when we begin our discussion of this masterpiece to signify the bodily sensations that erupted when we heard it was going down, it was all going down.  Finally, the full-length was prepared.  Aflame wouldn’t cut it either, and neither would afire.  This requires some sort of clever reference to a nuclear explosion internalized we currently lack the ability to create.  Suffice to say every ounce of our being awaited this one, and the wait was worth every day, every week, every month, every second.  We first came across Pasadena Napalm Division (from here out referred to as PND) via their EP while going over some missed submissions over three years ago.  With members of DRI and Deadhorse, kind of expected the best, and kind of got it.  Unfortunately we’re still figuring out a way to code the old site as an archive on here, so you’ll just have to take our word that we loved the frikken hell out of it.  It was also one of the more surprising releases we received in the past few years, primarily because we had no clue who it was at first, so we went into it without any preconceived notions of what to expect, we took it as is.  This time around, however, we expected the best.  They took a few years to put it together, but it’s finally here, PND’s first full-length, and it’s one of the greatest modern thrash/punk/hardcore crossover albums ever made.  Those empty words finally mean something for once, so take our advice and god damn buy this already.



Born out of the scattering of members from the bands already mentioned above, PND was born as almost a convenience, a “well we’re all here, why don’t we try this” kind of thing, and it ended up probably being the best decision of their lives, no offense to their pasts.  Apparently some of the material may have been in Deadhorse’s bag of treats but never went anywhere, but it’s more likely any remnants of what that may have been were significantly altered in the process to this.  Whatever that process, it doesn’t matter, because the end result is the candy, and there’s so much candy here the subsequent diabetes you’ll acquire is a disease well-chosen.  The mixture of DRI and Deadhorse is quite clear here, but at the same time it’s very much its own sound.  The lyrical approach tends to be half political/half humorous, often with a strange, but lovable, youthful quality to it that only the singer of DRI could pull off without sounding like an idiot.  This kind of direction requires a past, some sort of connection to where all these things came from, and dude has it.  Self-conscious criticism, biting criticism of the scene, clever approaches to vocal delivery, it all comes together like a memory you revisit on a daily basis.  But unlike nostalgia you don’t shed a tear, it’s something modern, something new in certain ways, but yet something old, the perfect combination.  So take that childish-at-times approach, and apply speedy thrash that has a habit of going from grind to experimentation, and here it is, everything you always wanted, nothing else you will ever need.



One great thing about this release is that Pasadena Napalm Division is an all-purpose listen.  A wedding, ripping out some biceps, driving through a mall parking lot to scare some youngins, blowing out your ears at the library with just enough for everyone else to hear, perhaps a baptism for kicks, it’s practically genius in any situation.  And one of the things PND gets is how to have fun with what they’re doing.  They’re not entirely serious in their approach, and it’s beautiful for that.  Some moments, sure, definitely more political in nature, others clearly more of a novelty, but that word here is a misnomer because it’s not a sound or technique that wears thin after a few listens.  Tracks like “Cemetery Mass” or “100 Beers with a Zombie” exemplify what this band is about.  Fast, hard, sometimes silly, but awesome as Hell.  The only bummer, which we didn’t use here to affect the score at all, was the choice in album cover.  Prior to actual release they unveiled artwork to the right featuring a girl riding on a giant bomb with a skeletal face at the tip, and it was quite simply the greatest album art of the decade.  What they chose, hey, nothing’s wrong with a nod towards B-movie toxic zombies, but that girl, why didn’t you go with the girl?!  Seriously, was their a contract conflict or something?  Because that crap’s literally the bomb that needs to explode all over us.  Hopefully they’ll rectify the situation by making a shirt out of it.  Awesome stuff right here, we’ll say it again, god damn buy this already.


Pasadena Napalm Division Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Pasadena Napalm Division: S/T
Minus Head Records
5 / 5

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