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Doesn't hold up next to ...The Bastards - 35%

demonomania, June 16th, 2005

I had high expectations for this album, as I love "Beat the Bastards" and expected more of the same from this English four-piece. For the uninitiated, The Exploited used to be a noisy English punk band but over the years changed their style to a pretty damn interesting mix of punk lyrics and choruses and speed metal. "BTB" seemed a perfect combination of the two, and while the lyrics were a little simplistic the songs had such drive to them that it made up for some repetition.

Unfortunately, some of that drive appears to have been lost here. The guys are getting a little older, and the vocal performance by Wattie just sounds strained. While on "BTB" his voice was harsh and urgent, "Fuck the System'"'s vox all seemed distorted, and not necessarily in a good way. While the instruments sound sharp, the repetitive song structures go above and beyond their limits here, annoying the listener with long sections of the same riff, and riffs that sound the same from song to song. Also, the drumming appears a bit less rhytmic, something that was a big plus for "BTB."

That being said, there are still a few good songs on here, most notably the opener "Fuck the System" which starts with a hair-raising sample of someone screaming. "Holiday in the Sun," a nod to the Sex Pistols I assume, is pretty fast paced and memorable as welll/ "You're A Fucking Bastard" sticks in your heard partially for having some of the silliest lyrics writable and for possessing that rhythmic quality in the breakdown that propelled the prior album. "Was It Me" is another good one to close the album out, featuring some very personal lyrics and an awesome, singalong chorus.

So if the idea of mixing punk with speed metal sounds good to you, and you have yet to pick up any Exploited albums but want to see what all the patches are about (ha), I instead recommend starting with "Beat the Bastards." Only diehard fans of this band will want to pick up "FTS."