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.