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Disarming Violence
Various Artists
Disarming Violence
Fastmusic

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Depending on which side of the Second Amendment you stand on, this compilation of 25 punk bands will either become another conscious indictment for gun disarmament or a sore spot that will make you blow your top. For those of you not up to par on your Constitutional Amendments, we're talking the right to bear arms, gun control and gun education. On Disarming Violence, the majority of these bands indirectly beg the question "What would society be like if casual gun violence wasn't tolerated?"

By hiring some heavy hitters in the punk music world, Fastmusic and Pax have devised an ingenious way to attract today's short-attention-span youth and knock a particularly sensitive point home. Included on this compilation are the likes of Dag Nasty, NOFX, The Sharpshooters, Blanks 77 and Agnostic Front. Thankfully, each of these stalwarts delivers a strong number that typifies the bandís sound and isnít some half-ass throw away song that didnít go on the last record. Even more exciting are the lesser known bands who expose their own peculiar identities and feelings. These include The Thumbs, whose quick tempo number "Drug Screamer" howls by with vocal melodies in tow, and Divit, whose snarling and passionate cover of "I Don't Like Mondays" perfectly represents the attitude each band dutifully parades on this comp.

What's surprising about Disarming Violence is the quality of its content. Many compilations squeak out a few promising tunes and desperately hope that the remaining bands can ride the coattails. With punk figureheads and talented newcomers joining forces, pop punk and old school fans alike will rejoice. Most importantly, every purchase of this CD helps to benefit the anti gun-violence movement of the Pax Organization. Punk and politics commingles once again, and both fans and protestors win this time around!

The closing track by Youth Brigade sums up everything with the simple rhetorical question "Why don't you ask the dead what guns are for?" The goal's not to dump every weapon and surrender with your hands in the air, but for every listener to take time out to reflect on what role guns should play in society today -- and enjoy the added benefit of hearing some first-rate tunes! So go and joyfully fire your semi-automatic into the air, then head over to the local record store and use your purchasing power for something good.

-- Andrew Magilow
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