Authority Zero Stories Of Survival

It's been quite a while since we've heard from Mesa, AZ skate punks Authority Zero, their last effort being 2007's revered 12:34. Almost three years to the day, the quartet issue fourth full-length Stories Of Survival, another blast of their typically Bad Religion-/Pennywise-inspired aggressive pop punk. However, where the band's past reggae influences tended to disfigure much of their work, the band opt to downplay those juvenile aspects here, instead picking up some more of their inherent early Offspring influence. The new slant offers stronger verse melodies and an overall upbeat pace, ensuring much of this 40-plus-minute experience is actually an inspiring mixture of nostalgia for pop punk's late '90s heyday, combined with a newfound influx of fresh drive and flexibility. Easily one of their most mature and progressive, yet respectably retrospective and refined, efforts, Stories Of Survival proves that despite years of bastardized approaches and general dismissal, both pop punk and Authority Zero have never been more viable and motivating. (Suburban Noize)