Rancid side projects need no longer be feared. The Bastards contain exactly zero members of Blink-182. Instead, Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen has stolen former Forgotten guitarist Craig Leg and borrowed Forgotten/Slip singer Gordy.
On Viking, his second solo effort, Frederiksen offers 17 tracks of variable-speed rock with gruff Motörhead vocals. The first several are fierce back-to-back rants that seem unstoppable. Sadly, that's when the inane rap-rocker "Switchblade" pulls the stopper out. After a fun cover of the Blasters' "Marie, Marie," the pace quickens again, only to be killed by the repetitive "Mainlining Murder."
Meanwhile, "My Life to Live," a bawdy Irish-tinged duet with Tim Armstrong, is the surprising highlight, with Rancid's Matt Freeman providing mandolin. The intriguing "Viking" finishes up with a bluesy, brutal confession that somehow resembles, of all things, the work of Bob Seger. While Viking is an unwieldy, hit-and-miss set of songs, the program feature on the stereo pares it down to a digestible dish.
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