Pennywise was one of the original couple of bands from California who managed to illuminate punk rock from an opening band genre to practically creating a sub-cult-culture amongst those who valued punk rock. Pennywise have been creating punk rock for over 30 years, with “Never Gonna Die” being their 12th full length album, as well as being the first album in ten years to consist of the original band members.
They have stood shoulder to shoulder with punk rock giant names like NOFX, The Offspring, Green Day and blink-182. Pennywise have always been characterised by strong instrumental punk rock, along with progressive lyrics which always hit the political and social issues of the time accurately.
Having said that, it would probably come as obvious that the band has heavily explored messages of hope, second chances and renewal in “Never Gonna Die”. Along with their regular progressive persona, a strong sense of maturity has emerged. Lyrically this album is powerful and will lure their original fan base with the journey the band is portraying. Technically, the band has returned to the trademark sound fans would recognise from their mid-career. Along with illustrating their ability to adapt to multiple punk genres, Pennywise reminded fans of the brute power of raw punk rock.
The first song, sharing the album title, kicks off with the vigour you would have expected from the band fifteen years ago. The first couple of songs flow into their matured demeanor, after which the kick ass punk rock from before reigns unrelentlessly. Not only have they managed to create a hard-hitting album more than a decade post their career heights, they have also aggressively illustrated their musical experience and life learnings through this endeavour.
Being a punk rock fan, this album brings all the nostalgic audio quality you would have heard right through the nineties and earlies naughties, along with a growth inspired only through experience. This is a fantastic punk rock album. If I however have to unemotionally circumvent my yesteryear die-hard love for punk rock, there are punk orientated acts out there today, who are reinventing punk, and pushing musical boundaries much harder than achieved before.
If you are a punk rock fan who experienced the culture throughout the era, you will most definitely enjoy “Never Gonna Die”. The album however is unlikely to attract new fans, externally to the established fan base.
All being considered, this would be a valuable addition to any punk rock fan’s collection, which I would rate a 7/10.