Pennywise followed up 1993's inspired Unknown Road with another set of blistering Southern California hardcore on its 1995 release About Time. Pennywise had just begun to gel upon the return of singer Jim Lindberg and the completion of Unknown Road. The band's fourth release in as many years finds it functioning as a full-strength unit, cranking out searing hardcore laced with positive but leery messages and ideals. While the music and message remain essentially the same as their previous releases, increasing depth and maturity begin to take hold in both these areas. "Peaceful Day" jump-starts About Time with Fletcher Dragge's soaring guitar providing a deliberately tense landscape for Lindberg's passionate search for knowledge and enlightenment. While Pennywise generally purveys a forcefully positive attitude, the dark undercurrent that began to surface on Unknown Road claws closer to the surface on About Time. The justifiably angry "Freebase" finds them tackling the pain of losing friends to addiction, a somewhat ominous subject considering bassist Jason Thirsk lost a long battle with alcoholism about a year after the release of About Time. Pennywise's subject matter leans toward dark, brooding misanthropy at times, but always manages to convey an attitude of staunch determination. "Perfect People" details the simultaneous frustration and satisfaction of skirting dogmatic societal norms in favor of free-thinking individuality. "Same Old Story" expounds the theme, railing against the perils of living blindly by handed-down rules. Pennywise captures the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity on About Time, while continuing to develop an increasingly haunting but inspirational tone. Musically, the band continues to pound out earsplitting, high-energy hardcore with ever-increasing prowess. And while About Time doesn't necessarily break new musical ground, Pennywise shows subtle signs of growth while maintaining its hardcore influences. (Not always an easy feat.) Just when it seems as though Pennywise can't get any harder, faster, or tighter, the band members muster their collective forces and strengthen their attack to produce one of the most essential albums of their career.
|Label:||Epitaph / Ada|
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