Some people would have you believe that in order for a statement to be valid it has to be wrapped up in complicated five-dollar words. One of the truest statements I’ve ever read is by Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, and she puts it quite simply: “If a book doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?” I think to some degree the same idea can be applied to music. That is why I believe it is important for socially aware bands like Gothenburg, Sweden’s Anchor to continue existing within the hardcore/punk scene.
Anchor play a style of vegan/straight-edge hardcore that seems to draw main inspiration from `90s metallic hardcore in the vein of Trial. The opening song “Beyond Reason and Logic” has a lengthy intro but the length only helps emphasize the eventual surge of energy put forth when the vocals kick in. An extremely catchy refrain punctuated by a throaty yell of "fuuuuuck!" grounds the desperate feelings of the song. Considering the lyrics deal with rejecting the Judaeo-Christian concept of religion, it makes perfect sense for the song to sound like a struggle, just like the evangelical Christians are in a battle for our souls (tee hee). What actually ends up being a perplexing aspect of the EP is that although the very first song rejects this concept of religion and upholds atheist reason and logic, the band makes reference several times to the “soul” in “Far Above” and “Captivity.” This makes the band seem contradictory in that they still espouse the same sort of Christian value of a pure soul within the human. Even so, it can be seen as an aid to the sentiments in “Beyond Reason and Logic” in that Christian terminology and ideology has been given so much privilege in society that it still finds ways into even ardent atheists' everyday discourse, all the more reason for it to be subverted.
While Anchor is a straight-edge band they avoid some of the pitfalls from the gate in not using ridiculous lingo like “nailed to the x” or using quasi-violent language to degrade those that do drink. More so than hate or sloganeering, their message on “Far Above” is in line with the rest of their ideals of retaining personal freedom and seeing alcoholism as a loss of that. Now I’ll say I do enjoy a nice tall glass of whiskey every now and then and even getting drunk once in a while. The message here does, however, even appeal to someone like me as it is plain to see there is a large segment of the population where alcohol acts as their only social outlet and does limit one’s personal growth due to a lack of self-awareness. It is only partially successful because while it does avoid overtly confrontational formulaic expression, it does come off as slightly preachy in spots, which can be a turnoff.
Anchor have proved with their debut release that they are capable of turning out thought-provoking hardcore that still manages to be accessible and and highly enjoyable in spots.