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D Generation

Through the Darkness

Columbia

D Generation, New York City's hard-working band, have surely paid their dues in a decade-long career. First of all, they nearly became casualties of a volatile music market when their first record was completely ignored by their previous label. Now, with phenomenal new guitarist, Todd Youth, on board and the production talents of the legendary Tony Visconti -- a true studio genius responsible for classic early albums by T. Rex and Bowie -- the charismatic power of this fine rock band finally ignites.

    Through the Darkness is an appropriate title for this bold collection of emotionally-charged songs dealing with topics such as personal demons and local New York social issues concerning Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's controversial "Quality of Life Campaign" that has threatened to shut down a night club owned by D Gen singer, Jesse Malin. On the band's sophomore effort for the Columbia label, Visconti has polished Malin's signature snarl and authentically captures the unchained, flexible style of drummer, Michael Wildwood (one of the most amazing drummers in the punk scene). The first single, "Helpless" practically shreds the speakers as it pounds forth with Malin's vocals. "I feel so much better now," declares Malin, and it sure sounds that way. Rather than trading on the strength of any current trend, D Generation transcend their "A List" of solid influences (New York Dolls, Thunders, Ramones, and of course, Iggy) to create a visceral thrash-rock alive with melodic pop sensibilities. Green Day and the Offspring seem like a bunch of effete posers by comparison. I double-dare you to sit still through the energetic frenzy of tunes like "Rise and Fall" (like Iggy in restraints), "So Messed Up" and the anthemic "Don't Be Denied." Through the Darkness proves that a band can still play exciting, original punk rock in this age of swing and ska revivals. I'd go so far as to say it's the best American punk record since the Ramones' Road to Ruin .

Columbia Records, 550 Madison Ave., 26th Floor, New York, NY 10022

--Gail Worley