L.A.'s God Awfuls clash the rancid with the raucous on their energizing Kung Fu debut, opting for a faithful facsimile of punk rock's barbed and faded past instead of resorting to the posing homogeny of its mainstream present. That said, they do understand the Warped Tour nation's clamor for a hook. Mouthpiece Kevin De Franco delivers his rants against consumerism, the National Rifle Association, organized religion, and being generally F'd over by society and the Man in an amplified impersonation of Tim Reynolds
, who was already impersonating John Lydon
and Joe Strummer
. You get the idea: the God Awfuls brazenly acknowledge the punk practitioners of the past in every pick slide, power chord, and strained vocal chord of Next Stop Armageddon
. Acknowledgement given, they dutifully reinvent the sting, and faithfully resubmit the vitriol. "Disconnected Youth," "East Side One," the subtle "N.R.A." -- the string section cheeze and preposterous poor baby power ballads of the modern mall-punk school are gored by rousing guitar solos, spit-flying and entirely believable potty mouth, and an overwhelming desire to play fast and get to the next fiery salvo. (Appropriately, the Greedy Bros. production leaves no breathing space between the screeds.) "Tonight" is the requisite Social Distortion
hard-drinking anthem; "No Angels" updates the fightin' in the streets manifestos of 1977, relocating the front lines to the vapid streets of Southern Cali; and the Oi! roil of "Orion" takes posing Neo-Nazis to task. There's even a couple of nods to vintage hardcore, the best being the absolutely badass "Sister" ("You're a f*ckin' mess/F*ck you and your trust"), which is the God Awfuls' version of that simpering broken romance crap the more pop than punk establishment tries to sell the kids these days. Next Stop Armageddon
should come with a half-empty can of Carling.