It's been a really long time since I've been into anything even remotely like punk rock. I used to love it, but I got burnt out on it and haven't touched any of my punk records in ages. Well, I received this disc in the mail and before I even knew what style it was I thought..."this has got to be punk rock". Well, I was right, kinda. It is punk rock, but it's more of a hardcore/punk mixture, but not your cheesy pop punk stuff that was popular for so long. Well, there is some cheese to this record in a way. First off, the bands name. I hate it. I would be embarrased to tell someone I like Shmunks For You even if they were the biggest, baddest black metal band in the world. And the album title...almost as bad. It just sounds corny. Thankfully the cheesiness stops there. The rest of the album is quite good. Now don't take me wrong, I'm not gonna start getting back into punk music. I think those days are long gone. But if I were to get back into it I think that Shmunks For You would be one of my first choices.
The tunes here kinda remind me of One 21, who were one of my favorite punk bands back in the day. I also here influences from bands like Ghoti Hook and Value Pac, but mostly One 21. Overall it's a pretty heavy album. The guitars are your standard punk-sounding guitars, but they mix in some heavier, groovy, and melodic parts, and even some guitar solos! In fact, they even mix in some cool samples, which is kinda rare for punk. The vocals are a mix between an urgent punk vocal and a hardcore scream. Most of the songs are quite catchy and will have you singing along after only a listen or two. There is a lot of emotion in the songs, which is actually a big plus when talking about punk music. This emotion probably stems from the lyrics, which are actually very well done and very bold. No "girly" or "skateboarding" songs here. Take "The Ministry of Love" for instance: "She's in my dreams/I'm disturbed a little by how real it seems/I kneel here and cry before my friend/Will I wake up to find the blood on my hands?/What will happen to her in the end?/Have I traded her reward for less?/Have I failed to show her eternity for me?/My temporary gain hides her face/Will I lose what is already lost?/I'm trying to find a way out of this problem of mine/to separate what I've done from how I feel/It's not so easy to show her what is real/to ease the pain when it's right before my eyes." Pretty impressive lyrics considering a lot of the lyrics by punk bands I used to listen to.
As catchy as the first half of the album is, my favorite songs are everything from "The Ministry of Love" on to the end cause the emotion level gets pushed up a notch, especially "The Known is Ended". Another plus is the cool songs titles. Well, not all of them, but most of them. Examples: "You Don't Need a Death Certificate to Die", "Those Who Drink of the Life They Live", and "Everything is Being Perfected" are just a few. Even though I don't really like the artwork on the front cover the packaging as a whole is very professionally done.
Overall, I'm still not into punk. Give me my metal any day. But for those of you who like punk and especially punk and hardcore mixed this would definitely be a disc I'd pick up. Rating this as a big metal fan I'd give it about a 6, but rating it's relevance in the punk/hardcore scence I'd go a little higher. So that is what the rating is based on. (Review by Matt)