WAR ON 45 - D.O.A. (Sudden Death)
It may not look like a good idea on paper, but the reality of D.O.A. combining their 1982 War on 45 EP with career-spanning antiwar tracks on one CD is quite effective.

The meat of it all, 'natch, is still the EP in all its blazing cross-check-to-the-throat glory. At the peak of their hardcore powers, Joey Shithead Keithley and company rip through their own “Liar for Hire,” “I’m Right, You’re Wrong,” “America the Beautiful” (not the traditional song) and “I Hate You” before giving the gun to the Dils’ “Class War,” which is nastier than the original. A punked-up version of Edwin Starr’s “War” puts their diversity on display, as does a pure reggae version of “War in the East” that makes me forget how much I dislike most of that genre.

The remainder covers 25 years and 11 tracks, including some of the best songs from their most recent album (2004’s Live Free or Die) -- such as the funky horn-punk groove of “Earache” and the archetypal Keithley rant “We Don’t Need No God Damn War.” “World War 3” and “Smash the State” from albums one and two, respectively, are still great cuts, and albums like 1993’s 13 Flavours of Doom and 2002’s Win the Battle are well represented by “Bombs Away” and “Warmonger,” respectively. The only potentially duff cut in the bunch is a demo cover of “Fortunate Son” -- which in an odd bit of symbolism misspells John Fogerty as “Fogarty” in the credits.

As Keithley notes in the liners, nothing seems to have changed with war in the years since War on 45 came out. On the one hand, it’s defeated fascism, communism, and slavery; on the other, it’s been fought on the grounds of frivolous religious disputes and the fractured fairytales of the overzealous in the case of Vietnam and now Iraq. But even if the results of war throughout history are mixed, it always seems to bring out the best in D.O.A. - Doug Sheppard





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