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If there was anything huge that came out of Norway, it was their world famous "deathpunk" band Turbonegro. Mixing raucous lyrics with a style of punk rock all their own, Turbonegro soon gained huge fame almost everywhere. Even hitting up the mainstream for a bit, Turbonegro was poised to become bigger by the second...until they broke up.
But amazingly enough, as they stated themselves in their album Apocalypse Dudes, Turbonegro has risen from the ashes once again. Following a reunion in 2002, the Norwegians signed up to indie giant Epitaph, and are planning a new album this year. In order to get everyone "enlightened" into the world of Turbonegro (and for some extra cash), Epitaph has decided to reissue Turbonegro's last two albums, Ass Cobra and Apocalypse Dudes. If you look at the Epitaph band page for Turbonegro, you'll see loads of praise for the band from famous rockers like Dave Grohl and Jello Biafra. Can this band really be this good?
Judging from Apocalypse Dudes alone, that answer is a definite yes. While Turbonegro's "deathpunk" style was quite evident on their earlier albums, Apocalypse Dudes added something new and wild to the mix: rock n' roll and glam metal. Mixing their immature but funny lyrics with heavy guitars, Turbonegro's Apocalypse Dudes has become quite a favorite among the punk and rock crowd. And anyone belonging to that crowd who hasn't heard the album would do well to give it a listen.
Apocalypse Dudes starts off in a great way, with the 6 minute opener, "The Age of Pamparius." You won't believe that the song deals with a pizza place, but hey, that's Turbonegro. The song starts off slowly with a piano playing a simple line. An acoustic guitar enters, followed by a slow but heavy electric guitar. This slow intro is just a sample of the power Turbonegro has ready to explode in this album. As the music comes to a peak, everything stops as a hushed voice states... A new riff begins and then heavy guitars come crashing in...and from there on it's history. Lead singer Pamparius enters in with a "whoaaa!" chant, and the song is carried off like a rocket after this. "The Age of Pamparius" is a great way to show you what to expect on this album; catchy, heavy riffs with hilarious (and stupid) lyrics. An excellent way to kick things off.
"Selfdestructo Bust" returns Turbonegro a more punk styled flavor. Still, there's a guitar flying around this song like crazy. Selfdestructo Bust keeps each line of the song at a maximum of 5 words, but the vocals are still catchy and effective as usual. The chorus is a simple refrain of "Yes it's true....I've got a Selfdestructo Bust!". In the middle of the song, Euroboy (the guy who does most of the solos) busts out with a crazy little guitar solo. "Selfdestructo Bust" is simplistic, yet catchy and crazy. Fans of Turbonegro's older stuff will definitely love this one, as well as newcomers.
"Get It On" is the album's single, and was quite popular for a bit. It's not quite as hard rocking as the other songs on this album, but it's definitely a radio-friendly song. Using textbook hooks and such, "Get It On" is fun mid-tempo song that is a great way to introduce yourself to the album. Once again using a very simple chorus, "Get It On" is fast and catchy. It's a little weak compared to the hard rocking nature of the band on this album, but it's still a great song.
"Rock Against Ass", "Don't Say Motherfucker, Motherfucker", and "Rendevous with Anus" have the stylings of 70's punk, with vulgar lyrics to boot. Of the two songs, "Rock Against Ass" is definitely the better song, using a fast, cymbal based drum beat, and a simple guitar riff. Of course, Euroboy donates some solos himself. This is where the vocals shine, though, sounding corny yet amazingly catchy. Both these songs also include some nice catchy hooks as well.
Out of all these songs, probably the epitome of Apocalypse Dudes is the amazing "Prince of the Rodeo." Starting off with a funky dream beat, Prince gets tagged on with an infectious riff, and Euroboy busts out a solo right from the start, as the whole band just puts out the music at full volume. The intro just gets your blood pumping, as the vocals and choruses are as simplistic and funny as ever. The music really makes this song, sounding like an Arena rocker mixed with the pure attitude of punk rock. The effect is a song that will have you trying to get a moshpit in your room. Or quite definitely playing air guitar once again. The great thing about the song is that it never gets repetitive, and is pretty long clocking in at about 3 and a half minutes. It's even got time for a nice little drum solo. If you want to hear a song that will really get you moving around the place, then you'll definitely want to listen to "Prince of the Rodeo." If you're a fan of the show Jackass, you may have heard this song on one of the episodes as well.
"Are You Ready" follows next, and while containing the elements found in a catchy Turbonegro song, falls flat musically and lyrically. There is a definite Norwegian accent this time in the vocals, but it's not really what brings the song down. Overall, "Are You Ready" feels incosistent as a song, and repetitive lyrically. The riffs take a repetitive tone as well, and "Are You Ready" falls as one of the weaker songs on the album.
The other songs showcased on Apocalypse Dudes are also on par with the overall quality of the album, but nothing spectacular. Still, every song has a touch that almost anyone can like.
Apocalypse Dudes closes on a positive note with the great song "Good Head." Basically, the song deals with a kid who wants, well, you get the point. Anyway, lyrically this stuff is right in Turbonegro's alley, and musically the song is also strong. The vocals are once again top notch, using the popular "whoa!" chant quite a bit, and quite nicely. This punk song seals up a great effort by Turbonegro.
Apocalypse Dudes is an excellent album, and while I can't agree that it's one of the best albums ever, it's definitely one worth a listen. Mixing punk with rock n' roll and glam metal isn't an easy task, but Turbonegro shows just how effective it gets when done right. Granted, anyone looking for deep and meaningful lyrics should look somewhere else, but anyone looking for a great rock album to listen to, look no further.
V P is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.