Street punk stalwarts The Casualties have released their eleventh studio album, Written in Blood. This album marks the end of the Jorge Herrera era and introduces David Rodriguez from Starving Wolves as the new voice. Where both of them engage a style of unhinged chaos being pushed to the edge of restraints, David’s vocal delivery is less raspy and a little cleaner. The difference is minimal but refreshing and could potentially open the doors to new listeners.
The album opens with the drums of war leading us in a march with blaring sirens in the background. “1312” which stands for A.C.A.B. and is an acronym for All Cops are Bastards, is an open protest of the police and their methods. It encapsulates exactly what to expect moving forward, a fury laid upon frenzied guitar licks and a call to war rhythm.
Next up is “Fucking Hate You” a blitzkrieg of anger because apparently The Casualties fucking hate you. “Ashes of My Enemies” follows with a oi-sounding tune that will imbed itself in your brain with its infectious guitar work and catchy sing-a-long chorus. This style of soaring guitar riffs overlaid with a chant along chorus is widely used on this album, most notably with “Guard Dogs”, the titular “Written in Blood”, and “Ya Basta”which is delivered entirely in Spanish.
There is a distinct fiery pit-opening chaos that permeates this album. From the classic punk rage of “Demolition” to the borderline thrash metal “Feed off Fear” to the state destroying “Smash” there is an urgent need to grab some friends and start a circle pit. However Written in Blood is not pure vitriol as “Lost” showcases a depth of emotion over trying to carry on with the loss of a loved one. Accentuated by some drastic tempo changes, the song delivers this emotion without sacrificing the albums ridiculously high energy.
The album ends as it starts with marching drums sending us off to war with the social injustices being forced upon us. “Fuck your president and Fuck your wall, Fuck your border and Fuck you All” being repeated over and over is the perfect point to end on. A direct unapologetic middle finger that blurs the lines between street punk and hardcore delivered with a fury that is unmistakably The Casualties.