Authority Zero

Broadcasting To The Nations

Written by: PP on 27/07/2017 06:43:35

Arizona punk rockers Authority Zero have been the go-to answer for any Rise Against fans longing for their faster and less polished era for years now. The last two albums, in particular, have sounded like a lite version of said band, complete with a raw edge and an aggressive punk rock tempo that has always been a core characteristic of Authority Zero material, thus endearing the band for many Rise Against fans who felt they sold out after "The Sufferer & The Witness". But if you go back a little further in their discography, elements of ska and reggae were present in almost equal measure to punk rock, though without ever straying over to the cheerful soundscapes of ska punk bands like Reel Big Fish or Less Than Jake.

On 6th album "Broadcasting To The Nations", the reggae/ska melodies make a welcome return after a couple of album's absence, although the band is still primarily content at replicating the faster material of Rise Against. Opener "First One In The Pit" may have copied its opening "Let's Go Zero!" chants from the timeless "Let's Go Murphys" by Dropkick Murphys but the song's relentless speed and tight riffs take us into older Rise Against territory right away. Similarly, "Destiny And Demise" is tight and fast-paced with a rollicking rhythm where the pedal is firmly floored throughout the track while vocalist Jason DeVore delivers anthemic punk rock choruses in his charismatically rough and scratchy style.

But as mentioned earlier, the ska/reggae vibes have again taken a more prominent role in their expression. The upstroke guitars of the title track combined with a high-octane tempo create a great summery ska/reggae vibe that echoes Zebrahead's party material in places without ever losing its punk rock vibe. "Summer Sickness" slows down the tempo and takes us far into reggae territory, "Revolution Riot" has a little bit of Rancid influence with its funky organs, whereas "La Diabla" takes inspiration from the proggy ska of Catch 22's later material.

Still, it's songs like "Bayside" that have Authority Zero at their best. Easygoing punk rock with anthemic chorus melodies that are essentially just a little bit faster Rise Against songs, maybe with a pinch of NUFAN added in for good measure ("When We Ruled The World" is another example of NUFAN influence). "Sevens" repeats the pattern with clean guitars and energetic vocals that draw just enough from hardcore to give the song a raw, unpolished vibe despite a big, radio-friendly chorus.

In the end, "Broadcasting To The Nations" is a solid example of punk rock that ventures just enough into ska/reggae to produce a bunch of enjoyable, upbeat songs for sing-alongs at small venues. What it does suffer from, however, is the similarities to Rise Against in a year where the latter put out an excellent album, plus a somewhat less ambitious approach to songwriting. The end result is a good punk rock record but one that's unlikely to expand their fan base much beyond their current, but loyal, following.


Download:Bayside, Sevens, Destiny And Demise, Broadcasting To The Nations, Revolution Riot
For the fans of: Rise Against, Catch 22, No Use For A Name, Zebrahead
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.06.2017
Bird Attack Records

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