Apocalypse Dudes

Turbonegro

Epitaph Records 2003/Bitzcore 1998, 1999

REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/04/2003

For a hardcore punk band that has admittedly succeeded in doing everything wrong while trying to get it right, 1998 was a year in which the members in the band Turbonegro may have been actually trying to avoid the proverbial apocalypse. A couple of line-up changes, a commitment to a new image, and a new focus in writing style could quite honestly validate Jello Biafra's (Dead Kennedys) claim that Apocalypse Dudes has evolved into "possibly the most important European record ever."

Historically speaking, Turbonegro had recently developed the taboo on-stage schtick of being a bunch of homosexual sailor boys, clad in denim, from the Scandinavian port city of Oslo, Norway. With the songs, and interestingly enough the hits, from their previous album Ass Cobra carrying the titles "Midnight NAMBLA," "Just Flesh," and "I Got Erection," plenty of enemies lined up as the band tried to fight for recognition on the popular black metal club scene in their homeland of Norway. It was the kind of schtick that had come to define the band's uniquely death punk sounds of that time.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So when 1998 rolled around, the reality of this image was cemented on the band when Levi's offered promotional dollars in support of the Apocalypse Dudes release. The two new "dudes" that emerged in the band's line-up were Euroboy (Knut Schreiner), a classic rock-inspired lead guitarist, and Chris Summers, the new drummer, who both proved to be essential additions as the band blazed a new punk n' roll path to success.

Coupled with the atmospheric sounds and opening notes of the first track, "The Age of Pamparius," the whispering of the lines, "From the ashes of this golden age of confusion, the denim recruits came to be known as the apocalypse dudes….", a new sound was born. Euroboy's melodic and soaring notes flanked by the opening thunder of Summers' percussion beats signified more than a new age, it signified PIZZA! As in the pizza served by the keyboardist, Pal Pot Pamparius, at his joint in town. Some may call the inspiration of this track silly; I'll counter by saying it's a great anthem regardless of your tastes.

Throughout the album Hank von Helvete, curiously a King Diamond look-a-like, continuously mainlines 100% adrenaline into a vocal stream that is superbly complemented by the brilliantly constructed layering of Euroboy's guitar soloing , Summers drum fills, and Rune Rebellion's rhythm guitar playing. The collective timing of their individual efforts provides a seamless end result of rock anthems that can easily be compared to a rowdy rock-n-roll circus.

While the anthems on Apocalypse Dudes never cease, admiration should follow for a band that scripts lyrics as racy as their songs names. The collective musical brilliance of the tunes, "Don't Say Motherfucker, Motherfucker," "Rendezvous with Anus," "Zillion Dollar Sadist" and "Good Head" should be respected by the fact that there obviously weren't any pre-planned notions by the band in getting the "singles" to radio. It's that kind of confidence that underscores how brilliantly the musicianship complements the comedy on this album and makes Apocalypse Dudes truly one of the hidden gems of the rock and roll underground.

With Epitaph's recent re-release of Apocalypse Dudes, this CD wouldn't be complete without noting the bonus material including videos of "Get it On" and "Are You Ready (For Some Darkness)" and 2002 Quart Festival footage of "The Age of Pamparius" being thrown in.

This is all the more reason for you to check your inhibitions at the door, heed Jello Biafra's advice (as well as this Daily Vault reviewer!), and pick up this release.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2003 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epitaph Records 2003/Bitzcore 1998, and is used for informational purposes only.