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June 24, 2024

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Kings At Crime (Victory Records)

By: Jeb Branin

I can't decide if the abhorrent violence present in the lyrics of SKARHEAD enhances or detracts from the street credibility of this CD. On one hand it definitely seethes with the hatred and anger that can be a natural by product of life (and death) in the urban jungle. On the other hand it harkens to the pretension and silly posing of the worst of gangsta rap. It seems that people who are even half as tough and mean as these gents claim to be need not spend so much effort proclaiming it. It is the difference between quiet confidence and boastfulness. However, if you look past the strut and swagger of the lyrics and concentrate on the music, this is a damn fine disc marked by a triple vocalist attack, guest artists like Roger Miret, and Chugga-Chugga nyhc in the classic vein that harkens back to the early days of the scene while at the same time embraces all of the harshness and bravado of the new jacks. SKARHEAD utilize plenty of contemporary flavorings including lots of metal, ska, and hip hop influences and at the same time they don't shy away from classic Oi! and sXe sounds. In fact I would dare say these boys don't shy away from much of anything. They praise everything from drugs, to porn, to violence to offensive street slang; all of which will be controversial in one clique or another in the hardcore scene. Not that I can imagine controversy being something that bothers SKARHEAD. In fact controversy is, in more ways than one, going to define this band. And depending on you point of view that makes them either courageous proponents of speaking you mind or tough guy poseurs willing to try anything to get attention. Frankly I'm inclined to think the former and that fact I don't agree at all with the sentiments expressed in the lyrics is totally irrelevant. My agreeing with them is in no way a prerequisite for their right to say whatever they want. It does, however, severely limit their appeal to me.
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