Pennywise – Never Gonna Die (Album Review)
Pennywise – Never Gonna Die
Released: 20th April 2018
Jim Lindberg // vocals
Fletcher Dragge // guitar
Randy Bradbury // bass
Byron McMackin // drums
It has taken ten years, but the line up of Jim Lindberg, Fletcher Dragge, Byron McMackin and Randy Bradbury have finally released an album of new material, after the disappointment of 2008’s Reason To Believe. Never Gonna Die is typical Pennywise; breakneck speed punk with poignant lyrics about the fragility of life and keeping a positive mindset. In other words, if you are a fan, this will be a welcome addition to your music library, if not, this album is not really gonna change your mind.
Opening with the title track, lulling the audience into a false submission of seemingly building up to a movement, after fifteen seconds we are immediately thrust into the frenetic energy of the band. ‘Never Gonna Die’ is fast, furious and immediately recognisable as a Pennywise song. The “ahhs” in the chorus give it a Bad Religion flavour, and with the catchy refrain of “never gonna die” and the unrelenting drumming of Byron McMackin, it’s a powerful start to the album.
The rest of the album continues in a similar vein, with McMackin’s drumming, in particular, and Fletcher Dragge’s guitar work really shining throughout the tracks. The album keeps up it’s unrelenting pace until ‘Can’t Be Ignored’ and ‘Goodbye Bad Times’ which incorporates slightly different techniques to create more radio friendly tunes or a ‘softer’ (remember this is Pennywise, so the term softer is objective) tone. ‘Won’t Give Up The Fight’ includes Lindberg at his most melodic and includes a great chant, which the live audience will love, while the laying of vocals at the end of ‘Can’t Save You Now’ creates, surprisingly, a James Bondesque sound.
The album finishes with ‘Something New’, a song seemingly about the state of the world and maybe even the band themselves, and the whole album ends as it starts; rapid fire drumming, frenzied guitars and Jim Lindberg’s forceful vocals.
Fans will be satisfied, but the album is not going to win over many new fans. Pennywise know their strengths and stick with it, which considering the amount of (predominately, white 25-45 year old male) fans at their most recent Australian tour with The Bronx (our review here), is not necessarily a bad thing.
Pennywise – Never Gonna Die tracklisting
- Never Gonna Die
- American Lies
- Keep On Moving
- Live While You Can
- We Set Fire
- She Said
- Can’t Be Ignored
- Goodbye Bad Times
- Can I Get A Little Hope
- Won’t Give Up The Fight
- Can’t Save You Now
- All The Ways U Can Die
- Something New
Rating: 7/10 (From a non-male reviewer)
Never Gonna Die is out Friday April 20th via Epitaph Records. Pre-Order here
Review by Carys Hurcom @CarysWos
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