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Anti-Flag - The People or the Gun. (Cover Artwork)

Anti-Flag

Anti-Flag: The People or the Gun.The People or the Gun. (2009)
Side One Dummy Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: xcarlupanddiexxcarlupanddiex
(others by this writer | submit your own)

After a couple of records on major label RCA Records, Anti-Flag returns to an independent label to release their seventh proper full-length, completely self-produced by the band and only mastered by Mass Giorgini. The new album sounds more like an EP than an album -- a little bit like their previ.
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After a couple of records on major label RCA Records, Anti-Flag returns to an independent label to release their seventh proper full-length, completely self-produced by the band and only mastered by Mass Giorgini.

The new album sounds more like an EP than an album -- a little bit like their previous EP, A Benefit for Victims of Violent Crime, but this time all the 10 (plus one) songs have never been released before.

The disc is all about anti-capitalism anthems that deal with what is wrong with the world nowadays (religion, suffering, slavery, exploitation of workers and people) and a lot of energy comes out of the stereo, with lots of aggressive punk rhythms and poppy choruses. Basically, after I heard this disc the first time, I wanted to go down in the streets with a molotov. I think this is someting Anti-Flag should be proud of. Serious.

"Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington D.C. (Sheep in Shepherd's Clothing)" opens the dances. It deals with religion and gods, and basically it shows how Marx already knew it all along. It's quite fast and aggressive -- melodic, but not as poppy as "The Economy Is Suffering...Let It Die," which sounds very catchy, with a simple guitar riff that drives the song into its verses and choruses (singing along on "Do you want to live your life as a slave? In chains from the cradle to the grave" will soon become all fans' favorite lines at shows).

The record then goes on with slower songs as "The Gre(a)t Depression," which let me down -- it's a mix between a marching band song and a Green Day "Minority"-era song (no matter if Greg Attonito of the Bouncing Souls, Tim McIllrath of Rise Against, Wade MacNeil of Alexisonfire and David McWane of Big D and the Kids Table sing on this one). The real good stuff comes with "We Are the One," even though the intro guitar riff was stolen from "Sold as Freedom" and the melody from "Tearing Down the Borders" (or vice versa?), I must say this song is killer. Back to the Terror State era for sure -- awesome sing-alongs and super angry lyrics you will need to sing with your closed fist or with your finger towards the sky. The end of this song, which flows nicely into the next, is the most punk rock attitude I've heard on a record in quite a few years.

"You Are Fired (Take This Job, Ah, Fuck It)" is definitely my favorite song. Even though it is a minute long, it is super fast and almost crusty, with screams and a direct message to their previous label, which basically is: Fuck off -- you don't care about music but about producing ringtones. Did I already say I love these guys?

Oh yeah, the other songs are good enough but a little but a little bit too slow for my punk guts. "This Is the First Night" and "On Independence Day" remind me of their major label albums. "The Old Guard" has got the best intro of the whole record, reminiscent of their Underground Network LP. The 11th and hidden track (supposedly called "Teenage Kennedy Lobotomy") is fast and anthemic -- almost a joke, but it's actually far better than other songs on this LP.

If you want a good punk record to dance to, and that features some reasons to make a change, this is it.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Against Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseRancid - ... And Out Come The WolvesThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Rise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteAnti-Flag - For Blood and EmpireThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Lawrence Arms - Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch]NOFX - Punk In DrublicDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former Clarity

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
aaronrkc (March 9, 2012)

Grew on me after listening to it about a year later. Bright Lights did too.

ak3punk (November 8, 2009)

I've been listening to Anit Flag since Underground Network, and this one fell flat for me. The last two albums, and the Benefit EP, were all mindblowing. This just feels...uninspired?

MrKerplunk (October 24, 2009)

Score for my review below.

MrKerplunk (October 24, 2009)

Great Album, so much better 'The Bright Lights of America'. If you where turned off Anti-Flag because of the Bright Lights album, give a listen to this. Some great songs in the album and there is only one 'skip' for me.

The album is a bit short, I got the special edition with the bonus CD with 3 tracks and they were great, I do not see why the did not include those in the normal album.

I just hope now Anti-Flag stick to this path and do not go back to the Bright Lights era. Definitely check this album out.

timahelm (June 21, 2009)

i really liked this album!

thomas7155 (June 15, 2009)

How do four mature adults manage to collectively produce shit THIS bad? And this trite? Like, I imagine at some point in the recording process, the guitarist messed up and started playing a song they "wrote" 10 years ago, and didn't realize it. And what the fuck is that vocal noise?

budapesthardcore (June 12, 2009)

as dull as bright lights...

souls21 (June 12, 2009)

Good album from anti-flag....very pleased that they decided to ditch the bright lights style...the only songs i can't really get into is "on independence day" and that bonus song. And "we are the one" may be one of their best songs ever

Oh and can anyone possibly hook me up with the b-sides from this??

CountChocula (June 11, 2009)

Good record.
Although 'We Are The One' is nothing on The Avengers 'We Are The One'

kylewagoner (June 11, 2009)

I'm giving it such a high score because I've been waiting for them to turnaround and do something straight up....just good punk and the one time I heard this I thought, "You know, maybe they aren't so bad after all." Also awesome how Mike Ski from The AKA's designs their covers. Gotta love him. And uh...there's no such thing as a "too short" punk album.

Consider_the_ravens (June 11, 2009)

i downloaded this album like a month and a half ago and it was awful. every album they make gets worse

kevinh (June 11, 2009)

The guitar riff to "We Are The One" is also remarkably similar to the guitar riff from "Curtain Cal"l by Boysetsfire.

telegraphrocks (June 10, 2009)

They definitely should've added "Bring Down Their Wall Again", "A Brief Misunderstanding Of Kings And Queens", and "The Weathermen Know Which Way The Wind Blows" to the album.
Those are so damn good.

inagreendase (June 10, 2009)

Is there really a period in the album title?

Look at the cover.

Ok, this lack of a Narrows review is just getting to be re-goddamn-diculous.

It's comin' eventually, promise.

TheMike (June 10, 2009)

I only really like the second song.... Yeah, it's probably a little more radio friendly. Bite me.

tenwestchaser (June 10, 2009)

Ok, this lack of a Narrows review is just getting to be re-goddamn-diculous.

paulrulzdood (June 10, 2009)

how does one dance to anti-flag? ...on second thought, i don't even want to know.

atomicgarden89 (June 10, 2009)

Haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.. I'm sure it's alright. I still appreciate this band no matter how much shit talk they get. Mostly because there's not a lot of bands that are so upfront about they're political idea's but are still able to have that Radio-Friendly kind of sound. I mean.. other bands are as politically motivated or more than Anti-Flag. But, Anti-Flag kind of introduces young kids to these new ideas, which is a really good thing. For that alone, I'll give this album an 8!

JTravolta (June 10, 2009)

Is there really a period in the album title?

deadxlast (June 10, 2009)

Please, "Teenage Kennedy Lobotomy"? I can't believe anyone over the age of 13 takes this band seriously. Sure, I still listen to them for fun every once in a while, but their whole anti-capitalist, PETA-supporting shtick is a joke.

mikexdude (June 10, 2009)

Most users don't have the motivation to submit negative reviews. If they do, I tend to post them...when they're relevant to the site...

I remember a comment from Syd saying he wrote a 311 review that was negative... is that a backhanded comment Brian!??!

friokir (June 10, 2009)

""Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington D.C. (Sheep in Shepherd's Clothing)" opens the dances. It deals with religion and gods, and basically it shows how Marx already knew it all along."

I sure hope you know what the deal with Sodom and Gomorrah in the bible was, otherwise you make yourself just look like an idiot.

JayTee (June 10, 2009)

A solid 7 for me. Good, but a boring song or three away from being great.

and yeah, I love when bands do the whole *messes up song* - "WHAT THE FUCK!!"

inagreendase (June 10, 2009)

LOL, dude doesn't have one review written with less than 3 stars, this place is slowly becoming ap.net

Most users don't have the motivation to submit negative reviews. If they do, I tend to post them...when they're relevant to the site...

inagreendase (June 10, 2009)

I'd like to think my tastes are too discerning by now but I've enjoyed their past few albums and this is no exception.

MrStylson (June 10, 2009)

Haven't heard the album, but you can't fault someone who volunteers their time to write album reviews and then only reviews things he/she likes. It's not his job to do this, he does it because he enjoys it.

LinoleumMagazine (June 10, 2009)

This band is a fucking joke. Politics for 14 year olds.

dlangl4 (June 10, 2009)

It's a good review, and it makes sense for someone to review CDs they like, which is why so many reviews on here rank the albums around 4/5 stars. Plus, punk music is great in general, so I'm not expecting there to be an over abundance of low score albums. At least, none that people are listening to and wanting to review.

crackpotdemagogue (June 10, 2009)

cringe worthy review. i would probably have dug this 10 years ago, but now it just feels contrived, forced and hypocritical. anti-flag are champagne socialists.

still, i'd rather see kids listening to this than the jonas brothers.

oldpunkerforever (June 10, 2009)

and where is the Aggrolites review, score is for the Aggrolites-oldpunker-

oldpunkerforever (June 10, 2009)

eh, its AF, it is what it is, im tired today-oldpunker-

MacbethMystery (June 10, 2009)

Great energy, but the lyrics just don't do it for me in terms providing profound criticism of our system. Quite
often it all sounds so fucking cliche like they were simply re-interpreting all works by Marx and emulating his rants on capitalism in the form of, admittedly, good music. Anyway, this album is still solid.

damo (June 10, 2009)

in my opinion this is their best album. Anti- Flag for me have always been one of those bands who have 3 great songs on each record and the others are average but on this album most of the songs are really good

we all know that the lyrics are at times cliche and cheesy and can occasionally make you cringe when you listen to them with your non-punk friends but you can't fault their energy

RayWagner (June 10, 2009)

I think that "The People or the Gun" is a pretty mediocre effort from these guys... and that's coming from a guy who didn't even mind "Bright Lights."

Yes, "BLoA" was over produced, but this one suffers the exact opposite problem at times. And, worse, it feels like it was done intentionally to regain that coveted Indie Street Cred. to wash away some of the RCA stigma. It's like they made the whole record just to say "oh no, were still punk! Listen - no bells or timpani or anything!"

And, I DO think that the songs are all starting to sound like new assemblies of the parts of previous songs, but that's not a good thing. That's always a sign that either the end is near or it should be... (I'm looking at you, Red Hot Chili Peppers.)

The booklet is a good microcosm for how disjointed this effort is. The same band that complains about the evils of capitalism and consumerism closes their "call to action pamphlet" by listing each member of the band and the companies that supply the equipment the guy uses. If I didn't know better, I'd say that sounds a lot like something designed to influence the band's potential consumers- uh, I mean, loyal fans.

This record, and really this band, just feel like they've lost their focus.

I knew this effort was gonna be a little off when I realized that the "title song" didn't make it to the L.P. Which brings up the fact that the free "Which Side Are You On" E.P. is far superior to the record that you had to buy to get it. As a matter of fact, if you learn anything from my review it's this: don't even open the full-length. Just return it and keep the free E.P.

Not only do you get the best of the recently recorded songs, you still screw The Man a little.

jo_punk_promoter (June 10, 2009)

I was really surprised with that cd, i wasnt expecting anything good, but damn, i love it!

ilikeilike (June 10, 2009)

I didn't like their last record too much. Maybe I'll check this one out. Are they still preachy live?

mikexdude (June 10, 2009)

LOL, dude doesn't have one review written with less than 3 stars, this place is slowly becoming ap.net

There are plenty of other reviewers who give low scores. Leave the guy alone.

SydBarrett420 (June 10, 2009)

LOL, dude doesn't have one review written with less than 3 stars, this place is slowly becoming ap.net

xIxKilledxJesusx (June 9, 2009)

telegraphrocks, i highly suggest you give dusty rhodes a shot

CobraSkullsFan (June 9, 2009)

pleasantly surprised. i really did not like "bright lights of america" and I'm happy that they turned it around. one of my top three favorite songs on this new album includes the "hidden track". this is my third or fourth favorite record hoovering around underground network, for blood and empire, and the terror state.

all the records listed here get 8's and 9's.

mikexdude (June 9, 2009)

I hate glowing reviews as much as the next guy, but these xcarlupanddiex does a good job of defending his point here.

lostandclowned (June 9, 2009)

Marx also knew communism could work.

chrisafi (June 9, 2009)

Okay poor review.

Can someone tell me; is this any good based upon the fact I thought Bright Lights was absolute wank but Die for the Government was good.

toes (June 9, 2009)

Gave it a listen on myspace with the stream. Doesn't look like I will be getting this one. AF needs to be spending more time on these albums.

Also, punknews needs to be spending more time on their reviews. Every album ISNT a 4 star album.

theandrew (June 9, 2009)

Decent album.

Tim_Armstrong (June 9, 2009)

Mumble mumble mumble

telegraphrocks (June 9, 2009)

Word!

BarleyPat (June 9, 2009)

telegraph:

I agree w/ almost every word you just wrote, down to the likes and dislikes. You are my brother.

telegraphrocks (June 9, 2009)

"I love how SideOneDummy is practically a career-difibrillator for all of its aging bands. Too bad the difibrillator doesn't really work."

- The place bands go to die.
- Major label dumping ground.

Sure. But they are still a pretty damn good label.

I've got a few minutes, so here's my list of SID albums that I do NOT like:
- American Eyes' Never Trust Anything That Bleeds
- anything from The Casualties
- The Dan Band's Live
- Goldfinger's Hello Destiny
- the MxPx releases
- Slick Shoes' Far From Nowhere

Never heard Custom Made Scare, Dusty Rhodes And The River Band, Supperbell Roundup, or VCR.

I'm indifferent to Go Betty Go and Zox.

Now, the good shit: 22 Jacks, 7 Seconds, Anti-Flag, Avoid One Thing, Bedouin Soundclash, Big D & The Kids Table (though I know I'll hate Fluent In Stroll), The Briggs, Broadway Calls, Chuck Ragan, Fake Problems, Flogging Molly, Gaslight Anthem, Gogol Bordello, Kill Your Idols, Madcap, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Piebald, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Royal Crown Revue, The Smooths, Suicidal Tendencies, Suicide Machines, Swingin' Utters..
That's a good catalog, man.

Side One Dummy has my approval.

Man, what a dumb post this was...

telegraphrocks (June 9, 2009)

Pretty rad, but too short.

I still believe The Bright Lights Of America is the band at their best.

However, "The Gre(A)t Depression", "Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington D.C. (Sheep In Shepperd's Clothing)" and "This Is The First Night" are definitely some of the best songs Anti-Flag have even written.

ahopeagainsthope (June 9, 2009)

thatsyouth:

I have heard those albums, and I personally think they're nowhere near as good as this one.

Now, have you listened to this, or are you merely basing your opinion on the fact that "the Bright Lights of America" was pretty bad and that the band signed a contract with RCA? If you actually have listened to it, what's so terrible about this album? It's not THAT different from their earlier material.

Babrook (June 9, 2009)

Album was a big surprise for me, I didn't expect much, but this turned out to be a pretty solid album with a few standouts along with a few skippers.

madomen (June 9, 2009)

DFTG was the only tolerable antiflag

thatsyouth (June 9, 2009)

ahopeagainsthope: Best thing Anti-Flag's ever done

What the FUCK are you talking about? Clearly you've never heard A New Kind Of Army, Underground Network, or Die For The Government.

Score is for that dumbass statement and how terrible this band has become.

SydBarrett420 (June 9, 2009)

So what the fuck has been up with the reviews lately?

1. I haven't seen a review that has been anything but glowing for every record reviewed for a couple of weeks.

2.The reviews also seem to be written by Brian

3.Every review seems to be written by staff.

I mean seriously, you guys are really reaching with some of these reviews. A PJ Harvey live show? seriously?

ahopeagainsthope (June 9, 2009)

Got it in the mail today, and I think it's a great record. Best thing Anti-Flag's ever done. It's gritty, furious, and poppy (in the good way) all at the same time. I'd describe it as an angrier version of "the Terror State" or "For Blood and Empire," only with better lyrics.

fallingupwards84 (June 9, 2009)

A good punk record to dance to? Doesn't sound very appealing.

Nap (June 9, 2009)

4 full lengths in 7 years.

Can any one think of another comparable band that has released 4 full lengths in 6 years?

It seems like they're just shitting these full lengths out by the dozen.

ashtraymonument (June 9, 2009)

yawn

mfohio (June 9, 2009)

I love how SideOneDummy is practically a career-difibrillator for all of its aging bands. Too bad the difibrillator doesn't really work.

dlangl4 (June 9, 2009)

And for the record, xcarlupanddiex is awesome because he submits lyrics to plyrics. Score is for xcarlupanddiex.

dlangl4 (June 9, 2009)

The molotov line got me. I didn't realize this CD was out yet. Gonna have to check it out.

mikexdude (June 9, 2009)

: ) u r cute c:

;3

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