Album Review: Killing California – “No Pentagrams No Crosses”

I first became acquainted with Killing California when I was sent the Tale of a Rotten Orange, a compilation that had songs from the new breed of O.C. punk heavyweights. Among the punk greatness on this album was an unpolished and raw punk band called Killing California. Their song “Blame Bukowski” absolutely kicked me in the dick! The tight rift and driving guitar were suddenly accompanied by what can best be described as a gravely voice that was a mix between a vocal buzz-saw and a drunken silverback gorilla. The song was tight and intense. The next song they had was called “The Spartan”, a song obviously about a band member’s father. It describes a man that was one tough son of a bitch. The songs were originally meant only to be demos. When asked by a friend to contribute to the compilation they submitted those two songs. Now I am presented with two new versions of those same tunes on the band’s third release on Basement records. The songs are mixed differently, but still retain that grab you by the throat and punch you in the brain with a brick intensity.

“No Pentagrams No Crosses” starts off with a ferocity that sets you up for a roller coaster ride of punk that never lets up. Vocalist Danny Craig’s voice is nothing but perfect for the songs he sings. His lyrics could not be any better for this dirty, filthy and unapologetic punk rock band. Hailing from San Clemente, California, the band is a pure throw back style band. One that you would expect to play the lowest dive on the darkest street, and then kick everyone’s ass at the end of the show. The song “Limbs” starts off with a heavy bass rift that is reminiscent of the golden age punk bands such as Black Flag and Minor Threat. The lead in then quickly develops into a very catchy riff and song. This album has songs for any type of punk taste from fast and catchy to hard driving, hardcore punk that you will not for one minute regret listening to. Several of the songs on the album, such as “Blame Bukowski,” “The Spartan” and “Now I’m You” have been previously released by the band. Basement Records however took these demo songs, re-recorded and re-mastered them and gave birth to a product that cannot be missed.

I highly recommend this album from Basement Records. The songs “The Spartan”, “Limbs”, “Blame Bukowski” and “Downtown” were defiantly my favorites. Killing California has accomplished a lot with this album and I look forward to hearing more from them. The only song I was lukewarm about was “Dirt”. It was a bit too ballad like and out of place on this album. Although that is the only bad thing I can say about it. My opinion? BUY THIS ALBUM! And if Killing California plays a show within 500 miles of you, GO TO IT! This album is for me a solid 4.5 stars. If you are a fan of Black Flag, Bad Brains and Bad Religion, you will love this album.

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