THE CASUALTIES - Written In Blood
Released October 26/18 (Cleopatra Records)
The big news in The Casualties camp is the retirement of original vocalist Jorge Herrera, now replaced with David Rodriguez (Starving Wolves). First albums with a new vocalist are often make-or-break for a band, as longtime fans have trouble transitioning to a new voice at the mic. That will be no different for street punks The Casualties considering Herrera was pushing out air for the band for the last 28 years (!).
Herrera utilized a harsh, megaphone-in-your-ear approach to singing, often delving into a grating rasp, providing an additional confrontational element to the band's sound. Rodriguez' vocals aren't that dissimilar, but aren't quite as gravelly or extreme. All told, the difference is minimal and should appease the hardcore Casualties fans.
Musically, there's an ever-so-slight softening of the overall sound via the additional 'whoa' backing vocals and melodic punk overtones than heard on previous platters. Make no mistake though, this is still a hard punk album and not meant to scare the street punk traditionalists away. It's just a slight change in sound that should make the band a little less abrasive and able to pick up new fans. Nothing wrong with that.
Final conclusion - The Casualties have stepped up and produced one of their best releases at a time when they needed to. Kudos to the band.