On their debut album, This Is How Democracy Dies, the California-based punk outfit Brigata Vendetta roars to life. With a repetitive, simplistic style paired with lyrics to match, a typical punk album whimpers instead.
With a three-chord guitar opening, the band jumps into their opener, “Get the Spirit.” Those three chords almost instantly burn themselves into the song with a few backing drums. The lyrics, however, paint an opposing picture than the sonic explosion, preaching for a positive outlook on life and to take the day by storm.
Instrumentally, the album is extremely repetitive with little flourishes or differences. Distorted guitars occasionally with a whammy-bar moment gloss over an almost blindsided percussion section that doesn’t get to be heard.
However, there are a few interesting mini-solos scattered throughout the record. On “Never Let You Die,” the lead guitar continues to hang onto the main melody until it shoots up into a stand-alone effort for almost 10 seconds.
“If This Is Life” responds in a similar fashion. Except, its wailing guitar helps signal in more of a pseudo breakdown before a final chorus, but even after a few solos, it starts to get old.
The only track with a true instrumental section is “Stuck There,” which uses a bass riff as an introduction. More than halfway through, the instrumental fades out into a distorted mess as the bass completely takes over with a few percussion hits. As soon as it’s started, it’s over and back to the same old stuff.
The vocal style is pretty typical for a punk outfit. A mostly scream-tinged vocal outburst follows at every turn, but it allows for the lyrics to stand out a little more. Lyrical content ranges from personal demons to societal problems, with a hint of nostalgia and preservation thrown in for good measure.
“‘87 Again” is this album’s most resonating and profound sampling. At first, there’s a hit of early ‘00s punk with a slower-paced intro before the Brigata Vendetta sound reenters. The track helps make a stout comparison between past situations and the present-day political battlefield.
“Just like when I was a kid, it’s ‘87 again/ Now we’ve got a new Cold War and a new Gen X.”
Overall, This Is How Democracy Dies is monotomous for an 18-minute offering, but a further inspection may cause a slight positive tinge on the lyrical side. If this is how democracy ends, boredom might be on the horizon.