Review: DOA - Northern Avenger
Label: Sudden Death
Released: October 7, 2008
DOA is DOA and will likely always be, God bless them, DOA. If you're expecting something other than aggressive politico-punk from these guys, guess again. They still wrap up left-wing politics into simple, heartfelt songs whose anger and outrage never overarch their equal doses of life and fun. DOA has always managed to find that place where politics aren't simply preachy and fun isn't synonymous with ignorance and that's as true as ever on Northern Avenger. Joe Keithley and company have been at this game for three decades now, yet they have the exuberance of teenagers who are first finding something they can call their own and that's why they can continue to resonate with kids in a world that's changed more than just a little since 1978.
What's different about Northern Avenger is the production. DOA calls in their old friend Bob Rock (yeah, that Bob Rock) and frankly, that worried me. I mean, this is the guy who gave us Dr Feelgood and Metallica, not Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables or Damaged. Could Bob Rock's mainstream rock approach take its toll on DOA's honesty and credibility? The answer is no. In fact, Rock's production makes this a standout record for DOA. He doesn't temper their passions, but actually puts more punch into them. It makes me realize that Bob Rock's most famous work has helped bands be what they wanted to be. He didn't make Mötley Crüe commercial. They were already commercial, he merely helped them better achieve that end. And here, he doesn't make DOA passionate, but his help behind the board helps them convey their passion in a way they really haven't been able to previously.
This is largely the same ol' DOA. Sure, a few tracks like the ska-tinged soul of "Poor Poor Boy" might step outside their comfort zone, but the essence is the same as it was 30 years ago. The difference now is just that you can hear it better.
If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.