Southern California punks TOTAL MASSACRE, a self-described band of “anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-capitalists,” have delivered another rager titled, “Pro-Life Death Cult.”
The band says, “PRO LIFE DEATH CULT is out now! Everywhere! And Tommy Massacre (drums) made a sick lyric video for y’all so you can maybe actually understand what the hell the Cap’n is screaming about (hint: it’s always capitalism). We also gotta thank Justin Moll for the amazing art that brings these songs to life. Check it out, and then tune in to see if we can top this shit next month! (Hint: we absolutely fucking will).”
The follow up to January’s “Get Rich or Try Dying,” the timely “Pro Life Death Cult” catalogs the litany of disgusting lies and absurd conspiracy theories that led to 500,000 needless deaths in the richest country in the world. “Die! So the Dow can stay above 20K!” vocalist Cap’n No Fun screams, as if things could be any different in this capitalist death spiral we now inhabit. It is that same combination of despair and the urgent need to fight back against it that ensures Total Massacre will be back with more music in the coming months to shine a light on the despicable things people in power do and to stop them from rewriting history, documenting their corruption and transgressions one song at a time.
Like drinking from a fire hose connected to a hydrant spewing anti-establishment sentiment, LA’s Total Massacre emerges from the wreckage of the 80s Hardcore Punk scene and brings with them the same anger and energy while confronting the contemporary Kafkaesque social and political dilemmas that bedevil us all. Trashing pop hooks, spitting on graceful melodies, and throwing the latest musical conventions out the window, the four-piece outfit begins and ends every album at a breakneck pace erupting with razor-sharp guitars and thunderous drum beats. This is punk music played with the same urgency as the messages conveyed within it.
In 2018, Total Massacre self-released their self-titled debut and immediately caught attention for both their directness and foresight in addressing the state of the US and where it was headed. From the opening track, “Thoughts and Prayers,” to “Preexisting Shitheads” and “GOPiece of Shit,” the band made sure there was no question as to which direction they were pointing their ire. The album’s closing track, the eponymous “Total Massacre,” hints not only at the ways their sound would evolve with crossover thrash riffs on later albums, but also grimly portends the world we would all soon inhabit. “I don’t know how we’re getting out of this one without a Total Massacre,” frontman Cap’n No Fun bellows over the end of the song’s breakdown, as if fully aware of the horrors to come but helpless to do anything but spectate.
Perhaps this is why the band wasn’t content to rest as the world crumbled around them, and almost immediately returned to their home base, Beer City Studios in Van Nuys, CA to record three songs for a self-released split with The Lungs, and a full-length follow up to their debut that would be released in 2019, titled The System Works.
“The System Works really was a huge step for us as far as song writing goes,” Cap’n No Fun explained. “I’m not entirely sure how, but we managed to keep the songs straightforward, since that’s kind of our thing, but still build up a sort of over-arching thesis about how all the awful shit we see around us, all the things that make our lives hell, are by design, and not accidental or natural as we are so often led to believe.”
The pandemic of 2020 temporarily ground things to a halt for the usually prolific band but didn’t stop them entirely. Following up the release of the single “Infrastructure Week” in April, Total Massacre had to learn how to write songs without getting into a room together like they were used to.
“We have always leaned on each other heavily for concepts and suggestions for our songs, not just musically but lyrically,” explained guitarist Mike Massacre. “I cannot tell you how many times we have had one idea for a song and the final track turns out completely different from that initial idea. But miraculously, we have still been able to write new songs since COVID started all via Zoom, Slack, email, etc. Once we felt ready, we rehearsed live a couple times (safely) and recorded at our studio as quickly and as social distanced as we could. Modern technology!”
The result of those recordings is six songs that sound possibly even more urgent than anything they’ve released before. While they had always positioned themselves as a foil to Trump and all the other evil republicans in power (to the point that a long running joke of their live shows was Cap’n No Fun announcing that the title of every song was “Fuck Trump”) the band makes it clearer than ever before on these songs that our problems run much deeper than a reality show president and his enablers. Because the prospect of returning to “business as usual” as musicians seems so far away, Total Massacre decided to try something unique with this release, dropping one song a month for the first half of 2021.
“Total Massacre have a directness and simplicity that is kind of a lost art these days; it was a hallmark of the punk scene back in the 1980’s and is what gave the music of that era the immediacy that inspired young people to engage in acts of resistance to fascism. We need more of that.” – Chris Hannah, Propagandhi
“This is exactly the kind of single the world needs in 2021. It’s pure apocalyptic, fire and brimstone, full blooded, piss and vinegar punk.” (4/5)- Faultline