Moshiach Oi!
"Better Get Ready"

(Shabasa Records/Shemspeed Records 2009)Moshiach Oi! - Better Get Ready

What comes to mind when you think of Judaism? I would guess that the Torah, Kosher food and Bar Mitzvahs may be first things to pop into your head. But what about hardcore punk? Following in the footsteps of Yidcore (a hardcore Jewish punk band formed in 2001) Moshiach Oi! have set out to prove a point - that Judaism rocks. But have they achieved their goal?

We begin with the "Baruch Hashem" that features only one lyric which is repeated over and over and shows the hardcore punk sensibilities of Bad Brains. Moshiach Oi! keep it short and raw - the way hardcore punk is meant to be played. "All Praise" is reminiscent of Henry Rollins-era Black Flag. Though not quite as short as the opening track, the vicious vocals make this song just as hardcore - if not more so. The drumming is also impressive. "Shabbos" nosedives into cheese land and with a cringe worthy nu-metal style guitar riff it makes for an awkward listen. "We want Moshiach now" is an improvement and the band changes into to Oi! punk which is pulled off successfully, providing one of the most satisfying tracks on the album. "Yetzer Hara" moves back into hardcore punk and mixes a crashing guitar riff with ferocious vocals and provides an experience similar to being rolled down a hill in a barrel. Which makes it in this reviewer's opinion is great fun. "I Wanna Learn Torah" is reminiscent of The Dropkick Murphys' style of Celtic punk and, though not as "raw" as some of the other songs, it is actually very good and makes the listener feel as if they've been thrown through a window. "Amalek" features an intro of pure guitar and for a moment you could be mistaken for thinking that the song has been included by an accident. However soon the vocals come roaring in and you're back to where you began. Ending with an impressive drum solo, it's the only song on the album that allows the guitarist and drummer to show off their talents and pays off for that exact reason. "This is my G-D" prompts the thought "Oh My God" because it's virtually identical to "Yetzer Hara" musically and, though the lyrics are interesting, they are no where near good enough to make up for a boring and repetitive piece of music.

Then the nu-metal returns on "Hashem S'fasai Tiftach" which is even worse than the track before and put simply is absolutely terrible. Hurray though for "Better Get Ready" which is a stroke of genius. It's heavily influenced by The Dead Kennedys and slowly builds up to an explosive climax which will make the listener want to go out and fight the world. The nu-metal returns with a vengeance on the overly long "Aveda Zara," a song so bad that it'll make you throw yourself off the top of a tall building. "I love Torah" turns to pop punk and, surprisingly, it works. A song dedicated to the Torah (obviously) its lyrics are heartfelt. Musically the guitar work is very impressive as are the drums. The best track of the album. "Am Yisroel Chai" is a tiny bit too long but thankfully the band sticks with hardcore punk which works well. Not a brilliant song but one of the better ones on the album. "Shema Yisroel," the penultimate track, feels like the vocals and music have been mixed together via an accident and not in a good way. Highly confusing and bland, I would recommend that you avoid it by all costs. Thankfully the final track "Moshiach Oi" returns to Oi! and provides the perfect song for all Jewish punks to mosh to. It's actually a tiny slice of excellent and ends an inconsistent album.

Moshiach Oi! are a band that when they stick to hardcore and oi punk could actually become underground legends. Unfortunately for some reason they also do nu-metal in a rather terrible fashion. The album is too long and if they had cut out all the nu-metal would have made for an entertaining listen. To conclude, they may have proved that Judaism rocks but they have also created a patchy and frustrating album.

C-

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