On Land of the Free?
--a record inspired by the worldwide protests against the World Trade Organization--L.A. skatecore veterans Pennywise claim to have written "a soundtrack for political activists all over the world." That this, their seventh album, is one of their finest to date is not due to any inspired political invective. The anthemic barrage of the opening "Time Marches On" sets the tone for an album whose music impacts like a police baton charge. Pennywise work so well as a complete band, it's often nothing short of breathtaking; just listen to the way Randy Bradbury's deft bass lines cleverly weave around the chugging juggernaut riffage dealt out by guitarist Fletcher Dragg on the towering holler-along "F**k Authority." The politics might not be expressed with an eloquence as revolutionary as Pennywise clearly think, but forget about that. Land of the Free?
is a reminder of the sheer seismic power of punk rock. --Louis Pattison