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Album Review

This revisited version of Put Strength in the Final Blow: The Disaster Edition appears on Duane Peters' own Disaster imprint. It features updated artwork, a clutch of entertaining liner notes from Peters himself (including the history behind each song), remixed versions of nine tracks from the original release, as well as the U.S. Bombs' debut 7", which fell out of print after its original pressing of 1,000. All of this makes Put Strength essential for any U.S. Bombs supporter. But the record can also act as a primer for anyone wondering just what Peters and his band are all about. The reverb, overdubbing, and general 1990s malaise of the album's first go-round have been replaced with a newfound tautness — "Mob Family" and "The Way It Is" snap to like a newly-shortened hangman's rope. In fact, the drier sound employed here makes the U.S. Bombs sound even more like their 1977 punk heroes. Peters' Johnny Rotten/Joe Strummer sneer is fine-tuned to the syllable. His leering of "baby boomer sluts" (from "Holly Cost") sails like a loogie over muscular backing vocals — throw in the slashing guitar of Kerry Martinez, and all of a sudden it's London's Marquee Club setting up shop at the bottom of a California half-pipe. "Bubble Gum" genuflects faithfully to The Clash, while "All The Fun" and "Academy" (both from the 1994 debut) will make you hide the good china for fear of smashing it in an impromptu living room mosh-pit. The U.S. Bombs are derivative, sure. But their admiration/emulation of their heroes is admirable, especially when the results are this solid. Besides, you can't fault a guy as honest as Peters. Referring to "Rocket" in the liners, he gets close to defining what's great about the U.S. Bombs: "Same old s*** as later," he writes. "Cool as hell song, but you know/Worlds ending/Live now/Quit watching yer [sic] T.V.s/Blah blah, nobody cares, HAH! I dig it though!"


Formed: 1993 in Orange County, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

An American punk revival band that draws on classic early British punk for its inspiration, the U.S. Bombs formed with a lineup of vocalist Duane Peters, guitarists Chuck Briggs and Kerry Martinez, bassist Wade Walston, and drummer Chip Hanna. The group signed with Alive and debuted in 1996 with a self-titled EP and the album Garibaldi Guard!, which was followed the next year by Never Mind the Opened Minds. A leap to the Epitaph subsidiary Hellcat later in 1997 produced the album War Birth; 1999...
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