Combat Rock Review

artist: The Clash date: 11/21/2011 category: compact discs
The Clash: Combat Rock
Release Date: May 14, 1982
Label: Epic
Genres: New Wave, Rock & Roll, Punk, Hard Rock, British Punk
Number Of Tracks: 12
On the surface of things, Combat Rock appears to be a retreat from the sprawling stylistic explorations of London Calling and Sandinista!
 Sound: 6.5
 Lyrics: 7.8
 Overall Impression: 6.8
 Overall rating:
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reviews (4) 1 comment vote for this album:
overall: 4
Combat Rock Reviewed by: kbass9267, on october 13, 2005
2 of 12 people found this review helpful

Sound: I don't know what the hell the Clash was trying to prove on this album, I wouldn't call it punk though. The guitars sounded so bad, it wasn't even funny. The bass was okay, but not great. The best instument was probally the percussion, most likely the only element that kept me awake during the songs. What I don't understand is why there are trumpets, saxophones, flutes, xylophones, and a bunch of other pointless instruments on almost every song. After a while all the music starts to fade into the walls, and you forget you're listening to anything at all. The only decent songs are probally "Know Your Rights," "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" and "Rock The Casbah". I think the music and lyrics would have sounded a lot better if they were accompinied by fast guitar and bass riifs. // 4

Lyrics: In the past, the Clash's lyrics were about rebelion, chaos, authoritive figures, love, and about a million other things. The same ideas are expressed in Combat Rock, but the way they were delivered was not very effective, and plain and simple, were boring. Joe Strummer doesn't have the strongest or unique voice, but when he sang songs like "I Fought The law" and "White Riot" I could just feel the energy of his voice. In this album there seems to be no energy, just a bland voice mixed with instruments. // 4

Overall Impression: Combat Rock was the third Clash album I bought and certainly was the most disapointing one. The only reason I bought it was because it has two popular hits, "Should I stay Or Should I go" and "Rock The Casbah." However, this did not mean it would measure up to the Clash's past albums like "London Calling" and their self-titled one. I wish I had spent my 14$ on something else. My advice, download "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" and "Rock The Casbah," don't buy the album. // 4

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overall: 9
Combat Rock Reviewed by: The_Rant, on february 06, 2008
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: After two albums of 'musical tourism', Combat Rock finally sees the Clash develop a sound that is truly theirs. While not exactly trying their hand at everything they see, certain songs show a degree of fine-crafting to their already musically adventurous sound. The band's love of reggae and dub is neatly summed up in the atmospheric Straight To Hell (perhaps the best Clash song ever)and Ghetto Defendant, and thier positition as white hip-hop innovators is shown in Overpowered By Funk. Importantly (perhaps damagingly so) two songs also displayed thier knack for hit songcrafting, both Rock The Casbah and Should I Stay Or Should I Go are as catchy as hell. However, certain musical elements clearly show the band falling apart. Songs like Car Jamming and Red Angel Dragnet sound laboured, unfocused and more like incomplete jams than songs. However, overall, the band are at thier musical peak; Mick Jones's guitar had by this stage become refined but restrained, Paul Simonon could actually play bass, Joe's vocals was capable of conveying more than snarling contempt- Straight To Hell's downbeat tone showed a tenderness to Strummer's punk snarl. Despite drug problems, Topper Headon was still more than capable in terms of druming skills. // 8

Lyrics: While London Calling had an element of concept; using the stories of others, especially those related to US rock mythology, Sandinista! was fairly inconsistant. Combat Rock however, returns to the concept based album. The lyrics, drawing on those affected by the Vietnam war, provide a criticism of America through it's foreign policies and harsh urban realities. For example Car Jamming tells the story of a dissafected Vietnam vet who returns home and fails to cope with a changing society ("Now he Knows the welfare kindness, 'n agent orange colour blindness"), while Red Angel Dragnet is influenced by 'Taxi Driver' a movie with a similar plot than the kyrics of Car Jamming. However it is still partly autobiographical. One may suspect that Ghetto Defendant's "It Is heroin pity, Not tear gas, nor baton charge, stops you from taking the city" can oly be directed at an ailing Topper Headon, who, by the albums release, would no longer be a member of the Clash due to drug related problems. Sean flynn and Straight To Hell show the Clash at the best at what they do- using other culure's music to compliment lyrics concerning social issues in those areas, in this case Asian-Dub to lyrics about Vietnamese children born to American Soldiers, or war time reprters going MIA. The lyrics of Combat Rock show the Clash at thier most focused they would ever be. // 10

Overall Impression: No album (except maybe Sandinista) deserves more cries of 'underrated. While obviously tired of each other and perhaps even thier own music, Combat Rock is the Clash at thier most consistently lyrically, and still increadible in musical terms, despite a number of tunes that seem forced. Think of it perhaps as the soundtrack of the late seveties/early eighties-Post Vietnam films that never was. Straight To Hell is the clear standout track, timeless is the only word to describle it. If anything, Combat Rock proves that break-up albums are far more interesting than those coming from stable bands (second Libertines album anyone). If this album was stolen, I would travel to the Vietnamese jungle to retreive it if need be, as long as my lawyer checks it out first. // 9

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overall: 8.7
Combat Rock Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 24, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: I got this cd from a 3 CD box set and had never heard anything about the album, I personally love the album The Clash said the best way forward was to change their delivery of punk music and had done well in doing so. There are some stand out tracks besides the popular "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" and "Rock The Casbah," songs like are "Red Angel Dragnet" and "Inoculated City" are fine examples of The Clash's new take on punk music. The guitar have become slower and the bass seems to have taken a more main role when it comes to the sound, this maybe due to some of the reggae influences. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics once again revolve around rebellion and inequalites of the world but the messages have been delivered through stories of victims. // 9

Overall Impression: "Combat Rock" may not be the landmark album for the clash but it's decent enough for any fan of punk/The Clash, the songs are still about the rebellion so associated with punk music, and for those willing to listen to alternative sounds of punk that still have hints of raw energy then this would be a worth while purchase. // 9

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overall: 6.3
Combat Rock Reviewed by: SuburbiaBomb, on november 21, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The first time I hold "Combat Rock" in my hands was when I bough a "The Clash London Calling Boxset" in which "Combat Rock" was included as an extra. However I listened to the CD and I think "Combat Rock" isn't bad at all. I mean I got it because of the "London Calling Set" as an extra. Whatever... I must say: "Combat Rock" isn't really the best Clash album. I dunno - Maybe I'm also wrong. But it's just not the sound I love about The Clash. There are many genres on it like Punk, Wave, or Reggae and "Combat Rock" have also a few good fu**in' songs like "Know Your Rights", "Straight To Hell", "Rock The Casbah", "Ghetto Defendant" or the classics "Should I Stay Or Should I Go". // 6

Lyrics: Despite of the fact that "Combat Rock" isn't my type I've to say that however Joe Strummer is a great lyricist and vocalist - also on that album, of course. There are good examples for genius lyrics on that album like "Know Your Rights" or "Straight To Hell" - But in my opinion you can't compare it to the early stuff. The lyrics are great - but I can't feel that energy that he had back then. // 8

Overall Impression: At least I will say it again: "Combat Rock" isn't The Clash greatest album. In my opinion. It have a few great songs as I've said already: "Should I Stay Or Should I Go", "Ghetto Defendant", "Rock The Casbah", or "Straight To Hell" and it sounds alright. If I would it buy again if some sick bastard would stole it? Probably no. Maybe some day again, but not immediately. "Combat Rock" isn't a bad record - But it's just don't my type... // 5

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