The unusual aspect of this release is that it is a “conceptual” album concerned about the state of the world that we currently live in and that 7 out of the 11 tracks feature guest artists.
The band, who are no strangers to railing against corporate greed, governmental authority, war and social injustices said;
“This is an important moment in history and demands an urgent response, but we thought it was also important that we retrace our footsteps to the beginning of these issues. In order to better understand how to eradicate climate devastation, imperialism, war-based economics, systems predicated upon racism, and the increasing belief that these things do not even exist."
The album kicks off nicely with ‘Sold Everything’, a short, catchy little number which, despite starting rather quietly, immediately sets the tone for what is to follow;
“Fuck all their borders and fuck all their wars
(The violence of Wall Street and profiteer cures)
Neoliberal white saviors, Murdoch and Fox News
(Fuck the Pittsburgh Police) and the president, too”
Next up is ‘Modern Meta Medicine’ which features Killswitch Engage frontman Jesse Leach on vocals. Pounding drums and heavy, insistent guitar drive the song onwards which is concerned about the wonderful American health care system..
Silverstein’s Shane Told is the guest on ‘Laugh. Cry. Smile. Die’, which is about climate change and how fossil fuel firms and politicians have constantly lied to the public about the threat. Bleak lyrics set to a pulsating punk soundtrack make this a great listen.
‘The Fight Of Our Lives’ features 2 guests: Rise Against’s Tim McIlwraith and Bad Religion’s Brian Baker. The song exhorts the listener to stand up and be counted against the wrongs and injustices in the world. Once again, the drums are really noticeable, propelling this fast paced track along and you can really feel the urgency of the message in this track.
Ashrita Kumar of Pinkshift joins in on the next track ‘Imperialsm’, another fast paced, catchy track that rails against the evils of imperialism the world over.
‘Victory Or Death ( We Gave ‘Em Hell)’ features Campino from Die Toten Hosen. It slows things down a lot, but sends the anthemic qualities up many notches. It has a Celtic “round the camp fire” feel to it and the sing along chorus will surely make it a festival crowd favourite. The song is about remembrance of those long-forgotten freedom fighters (many unknown) who have gone before and provide inspiration for people today.
Singer songwriter Tre Burt appears on ‘Shallow’ Graves, a slowish, atmospheric song and Stacy Dee of Bad Cop / Bad Cop features on the final collaboration ‘Nvrever’. The song is about capitalism, greed and the exploitation of workers. Another fast paced, catchy number with a great little riff running through it.
There are of course some songs that are just Anti Flag, ‘The Hazardous’ starts with a mighty guitar riff before drums and bass come crashing in before settling down into a mid-paced rocker.
‘Work & Struggle’ is a real stand out track, Anti Flag at their best.
” Work and struggle, and be grateful for it
Work and struggle, and death
Work and struggle, and be grateful for it
Work and struggle for less”
This chorus encapsulates the sentiments of the whole song, loud catchy and very powerful.
Final song ‘Only In My Head’ brings proceedings loudly to a close.
After 30 years Anti Flag are still railing against authority and taking aim at those who deserve it. Long-time fans will love this as they know what to expect from the band, First time listeners may not find this an easy listen as fine an album it is.
- Music / Songwriting 9/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
- Mix / Production 9/10
- Artwork & Packaging 8/10
- Originality 9/10
Anti Flag always produce high quality albums with great songwriting and production. They may be preaching to the converted but their standards are consistently high.