Sound — 9
OFF! is a hardcore punk supergroup consisting of Keith Morris (Circle Jerks, Black Flag), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven McDonald (Red Kross), and drummer Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes). This album comes at you with enough angst and hostility to kill a small child. With most tracks ending at the 1 minute mark, each song is packed tight with fast power chord riffs, screamed vocals, and in-your-face drum fills. However, the guitar work is quite simple, with the bass following the guitar almost note for note. Which isn't something particularly unusual in the hardcore punk scene. But if your looking for something poppy, with catchy choruses, and major sounding licks, then this band just isn't for you. Most songs have a good deal of dissonance, and don't always follow a song structure. There are definitely catchy riffs and vocals, but they won't be repeated 8 times within a single song. This album has a sound that is hard, fast, and angry. It may not be totally groundbreaking, but its a hell of a lot different than a lot of the other music being shoved down our throats.
Lyrics — 7
As with a lot of hardcore punk bands, the lyrics are quite political. Keith Morris spits out vocals of anger towards society in F--k People, while crying out against corrupt and violent practices in Killing Away. However, not every song on this album has a message, which can be a refreshing change. Keith Morris can write impressive lyrics, which aren't overly-simplistic like you might find with other bands of the same genre. But the songs almost always lack a rhyming scheme. Keith Morris does have a unique voice but he won't be winning any awards for singing skill. However, his sound goes well with the music at hand. But if you don't like singers yelling, or punk-style vocals, then you won't be impressed with the vocal work on this album.
Overall Impression — 9
This album would fit well amongst other releases from hardcore punk bands, but OFF! does accomplish their own style on this record. Some of my favorite songs include Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Black Thoughts, F--k People, and Peace in Hermosa. I love the energy put into a lot of the songs from this record but because of the shortness of the songs I often felt unsatisfied, thirsting for more. It would be a great addition to any fan of the hardcore punk scene, I would definitely purchase this album again if it were lost or stolen.