Death Ridge Boys


Death Ridge Boys Society Overdose / Turn the Tide 7″

Two tough cuts of pub-bound street rock from some stalwarts of the Portland, Oregon scene. If I’m counting correctly, this is their eighth release, and follows up the Too Much Bullshit LP from last year. “Society Overdose” is a catchy mid-tempo number with a shout-along chorus and lyrics about having your eyes opened to the ills of society through punk. There’s a line that says “Inside my head looks like the cover of Cause For Alarm.” So tough. The flipside slows things down and introduces more melody with an anthemic, straight-ahead rock approach. Another solid showing from some trusty punks.

Death Ridge Boys Too Much Bullshit LP

Portland street rock’n’rollers DEATH RIDGE BOYS have been kicking around since 2017, which is impressive considering their latest, Too Much Bullshit, sits so comfortably next to the newer crop of Oi! bands like VIOLENT WAY and the CHISEL. In fact, I’d say that if you’re into the CHISEL, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be a fan here. It’s all very anthemic, very catchy, and very sing-along friendly, perfect for a night out with the lads. And while the message is similar to the aforementioned bands, the delivery is a little more lighthearted and upbeat. Checkout “Gunnin’ For You,” which sounds more pub rock than Oi! and most definitely has some of fellow Portlanders the RIFFS in its DNA. If I have to dock points for anything, it’s the times DEATH RIDGE BOYS drift into Irish punk territory à la DROPKICK MURPHYS, like on “Oh Fashy.” I’m no hater, but I’ve never been a fan of the style. In any event, it’s a small qualm with an otherwise solid album.

Death Ridge Boys Boots on the Streets cassette

Portland’s hairy exponents of leftist Oi! return with four new ones and three covers. This may be the best thing I’ve heard from them so far. The songs are catchy as hell, especially the excellent 4 SKINS-inspired, menacing “Let Them Know.” They feel like a more tuneful CRIMINAL DAMAGE that’s less obsessed with BLITZ here. The drums are snare-heavy, up front, and the wailing guitars are nice and buried and shitty-sounding like a proper Oi! mix. “Always Darkest” excelles with pandemic-inspired lyrics like “Can’t go out without wearing a mask / Cuz people are in fear for their lives / You see me on the street / But you’d never guess I’ve been wearing one my whole fucking life!” LOL. The covers (BIG BOYS/7 SECONDS/WIRE) are pretty straightforward and don’t add much to the originals, but are well-thought-out and untraditional while remaining street in spirit. The overused term “banger” could be apt verbiage here, but without a side of mash it falls flat as pavement. See you fucks at the microbrewery!

Death Ridge Boys (Don’t Let Them) Divide Us / Working 7″

You could easily file this under the “Hairy Guys Playing Oi!” category, but that would be a great disservice and you’d only be robbing yourself of a real kicker of a record. This is the guy from TALK IS POISON’s anti-fascist working class street rockin’ quartet from the mean artisan-coffee-drenched back alleys of PDX. The title track here is a complete “War on the Terraces” vegan leather boot stomping anthem. “Working” is little more of a hard rocker: regaling the woe-filled tales of clocking in yet another hard day at the bicycle collective. All jokes aside, this a scorching little platter with well-thought out lyrics and is well worth your wages.

Death Ridge Boys Fooled Again / Situation 7″

Two years after their debut album, Portland’s best Oi!/punk combo return with a strong new single. The A-side is of course the hit, a mid-tempo burner with a PARTISANS meets COCK SPARRER vibe, a huge catchy chorus, and brilliant lyrics regarding the intersection of fascist appeals and the working class. “Situation” is a blunt look at the climate crisis, with a bit more of a hardcore edge that reminds me quite a bit of the early work of DC’s SUSPECTS (one of the best, if most under the radar, American Oi!/punk bands ever). The material is great, and in these fence-sitting times with authoritarianism on the rise, the politics are even better.