There are not many things more morbid than a band called Bitter End releasing an album called Guilty As Charged. If the first mental pictures you get are of death row, then you're not far off. Lyrics have always played an important role in punk rock, and this hardcore Texas-bred/New York-sounding group has delved in to some bigger questions on its last record. The album deals with issues of right and wrong, crime and punishment, victims' rights, acceptance of guilt, and remorse. The songs take the perspectives of the criminal, the victim, the wrongfully accused, and even the outsider. With lyrics like "Misdirected anger should fall on you," "Law of Karma ready to attack / When the hour comes I'll laugh in your face," "No shame / No remorse . . . The dollar sign conquers all / Morals nowhere to be found," and "Mistakes in judgment . . . Masses waiting for a chance at revenge," the album shows a sophisticated understanding of complex issues that the criminal justice system easily misses. Punk ain't just for teens.
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