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Lead to Light
Authority Zero have long incorporated shades of ska, reggae and Latin influences to their melodic punk rock palette, and that multi-layered sound has helped to give this Arizona quartet an identity among the many pop-punk bands that surfaced in the late '90s and early '00s. While their last album, 2007's 12:34 seemed to ditch a lot of these additional influences in favor of a more streamlined melodic punk sound, Stories of Survival sounds more open and eclectic, while still firmly rooted in punk rock.
Lyrically the album is defiant and occasionally angry at the state of the world (or perhaps just this country) today, but the music remains fun, with upbeat tempos and a slick energy that rarely lags from start to finish. New guitarist Zach V contributes some impressive lead guitar work, and vocalist Jason DeVore's rapid-fire delivery remains largely intact. In addition, Jeremy Wood's intricate basslines are equally essential, often competing for attention with the guitar. Longtime producer/mixer Ryan Greene gives the album a typically punchy sound, perfectly suited for this type of affair.
While it doesn't necessarily break new ground, Stories of Survival is another solid effort from this always-reliable band. If you're already a fan, there's little opportunity for disappointment here.