THE ROTTEN / ENEMY OF THE STATE / 2009
“It’s amazing when an already impressive band step up their attack another notch. Such is the case with Kitchener, ON-based the Rotten on latest effort Enemy Of The State. While the quartet have always unleashed a caustic, old school approach that few bands equal, on these 13 tracks they have truly amplified and refined everything without losing the spirit that has driven their aggressive punk for a decade. Enemy Of The State is crisply recorded and perfectly performed without detracting from the guttural, abrasive spirit and energy the Rotten continue to unleash. Essentially, this collection of incensed yet catchy tunes is a spirited, powerful blast of rage and aggression yet the actual delivery is the perfect balance of live enthusiasm and studio perfection. The result is a cumulative effect of decades-long listens to D.O.A., Zeke, Ramones, Rancid and Exploited — thick with rage yet mature enough to let it unfold patiently”. (Exclaim)
From Equalizing X Distort:
“THE ROTTEN have been slugging it out for ten years now and this is their second CD. This is the follow up to “Circus of the Demented” that came out in 2003. The band is self-described as a ’77 style punk band, but it is ’77 style in that BLANKS ’77 way. It is a fusion of punk and hardcore. And with the vocalists gruff sounding vocals they totally remind me of DOA. It is a mid-paced type of hardcore. And the title of this release even seems like a combination of DOA songs “The Enemy” and “Smash the State”. The band has some drinking and fighting songs like “K.W.D.P.”, but they also have songs about unhealthy partying like “No Good at All”. They make good arguments for atheism with songs like “God’s Helping”. And then they express their appreciation for greaser culture with “50’s ….Pontiac….”. It’s all kids counter culture so chalk it up to kindred spirits I suppose. Songs like “Oh’ Dell” and “Human Disaster” are totally pointed commentaries which I love to see. And songs like “Scenewrecker” and “Punk Love” are totally scene specific, which I also like to see because you should write about what you know and if you are immersed in the punk scene you know about shit going down. What I am trying to say is these cats are well rounded and genuine as far as punk bands go. A healthy dose of serious and fun. This will be a long time listening release.” (Equalizing X Distort)
From Old Punks Never Die:
“On first listen, I was a bit underwhelmed by this offering. But I quickly realised that my mistake was playing this straight after the other two and not giving my brain a chance to reset. Much like wine appreciation, you need to clean your aural palate when enjoying fine music. Suitably refreshed, I hit play again. What a difference a cup of tea makes to your ears. The Rotten may not have quite the same the musical or lyrical prowess of their label breathren, but that doesn’t stop ’em expressing themselves in no uncertain terms. The noise is stripped down, punked up and gobbed out in the finest tradition of the old school style. There’s a decent dose of street politics and wrong-side-of-the-tracks anger aimed at the ‘great and good’, as well as tongue-in-cheek humour and the desire to just have fun. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The influence of Canuck punk pioneers DOA courses through the veins of these 21st century (angelic) upstarts, underpinning but not overpowering this rough diamond of a record. The Rotten – they’re anything but. OP’s opinion: @@@@.” (Old Punks Never Die)
From Riot 77:
From Canada, The Rotten are signed to an offshoot label of Insurgence and though no press info accompanied any of the releases from Rebel Time, its safe to say this band operate within the North American Street Punk circuit. With an emphasis placed on rhythm and pace, The Rotten are well aware they aren’t re-inventing the wheel here, but could care less and keep the focus on the good times. The upsurge in bands like this in the 90’s kicked the sheen right off Punk Rock at a time when it needed it most and brought back a sense of fun to the genre that had almost given way to PC histrionics. The Rotten make their point and share their love of a well-constructed Punk tune with the listener. Sometimes all it takes is a guitar lick and a snarl to bring a smile to my face and The Rotten occupy that slot on the stereo today.