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Strike Anywhere - Iron Front (Cover Artwork)

Strike Anywhere

Strike Anywhere: Iron FrontIron Front (2009)
Bridge Nine Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


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

In a year where bands like the Bouncing Souls and Paint It Black avoided full-lengths in favor of short seven-inch bursts, Strike Anywhere rallied ahead with their fourth full-length, Bridge Nine debut, and possibly best album ever with Iron Front. Maybe it's fitting, given that the Iron Front, the .
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In a year where bands like the Bouncing Souls and Paint It Black avoided full-lengths in favor of short seven-inch bursts, Strike Anywhere rallied ahead with their fourth full-length, Bridge Nine debut, and possibly best album ever with Iron Front. Maybe it's fitting, given that the Iron Front, the circle with three declining lines that decries communism, monarchism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and pretty much any other jerk belief system ever, has always been Strike Anywhere's symbol. Iron Front describes the band's aesthetic more than even an eponymous title ever could.

Iron Front revitalizes the band's melodic hardcore sound. Things seemed a little dark there for a while -- Exit English was merely solid; Dead FM would've been the best EP of 2006 if the band had just stopped recording -- but this new release finds Strike Anywhere combining their trademark socio-political insight with their most infectious hooks yet. Catchy yet informative (hereafter known as the Avail Principle), the songs take on globalism, child soldiers, racism and environmental policy, among other issues.

The elements seem so simple -- keep it short and fast, rock the gang vox, and maybe try to change the world while you're at it. Yet no one else seems to be knocking out songs like Iron Front's 13 tracks. Those who purchased the preview EP will already know and love "Failed State" and "Hand of Glory," but they'll be shocked to see those aren't even the strongest cuts on the album. Album opener "Invisible Colony" blasts through civil discourse in the U.S. in 78 seconds, giving way to the uber-catchy "I'm Your Opposite Number." Frontman Thomas Barnett is fed up with trying to get along, taking the violent right to task, singing, "Lower the flags / Raise up the earth / Freedom 'til death / Death until birth / We're still fighting each other / I'm your opposite number." He even throws in a "Fuck you" for good measure. And when someone as literate as Barnett tells you to fuck off, you know he means it.

Outside of picking "Invisible Colony" as the opener, I imagine little thought was needed to sequence Iron Front, because the songs are all so got-damned awesome. As excited as I am to sing along with deep cuts like "Omega Footprint" (love the chorus) or "Summerpunks" (best "whoa"s of 2009, hereafter known as Whoa-Nine?), I can't bring myself to skip a single track of this 30-minute masterpiece. I mean, I wouldn't want to miss "The Crossing" (another catchy chorus 'n' whoa concoction, natch). But then again, I always want to hear "First Will and Testament," a love letter to lost friends, coursing through my ears and blood. Barnett takes inspiration from the deceased, vowing to "Wait for the day / Work of the day." He's going to live and then "shine in this song even when my body's gone."

"Postcards from Home" closes out the record brilliantly with its tale of child soldiers who can't break out of a cycle of violence ("You can't walk away / This land will follow you / You can't walk away / 'Cause this is home"), which is a shame. See, as wonderful as the song is, Iron Front demands to be on repeat. The songs need to be blurred together and boiled down and bonded with your DNA, just like with Chorus of One and Change Is a Sound. I know it's October and all, but this is the punk album to beat for 2009.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Propagandhi - Supporting CasteThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Flatliners - CavalcadeThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!A Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideDear Landlord - Dream HomesRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteChuck Ragan - Gold CountryBanner Pilot - CollapserThe Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

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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.
kidpomona (October 20, 2010)

I just found out this album existed a few a hours ago. Fuck my life.

csayles (May 2, 2010)

I've read some of the comments about this album and it may not have that one "stand out song" but i think that it has a few songs that are very close (ie: summerpunks and postcards from home) but thats not to important because this album is pretty damn good all the down the song list.

publichousing (March 27, 2010)

I've been going through my previous comments for album reviews and have been recanting a few. I will be sorta recanting mine. I should never be so critical of someone elses artwork and I believe by calling this 'boring' and saying that 'the songs blend in with eachother' as an insult, I may have insulted them. So for that I am sorry. I personally don't think it matches up to ExitEnglish or Change Is A Sound but it is still good. I would be bullshitting if I didn't say 'Invisible Colony' always gets me pumped. Thanks Strike Anywhere for your great music!
I still stand behind my defences of Anti-Flag, ha. I like them alot.

PunkCDSampler (January 8, 2010)

Best album of the year.

14theroad (December 29, 2009)

Postcards From Home is so good it makes me want to cry and burn shit down.

eatyour_face (December 17, 2009)

album of the year? No. Album of the month? no. Still, worth a listen.

VictimOfADriveBy (November 16, 2009)

I wasn't sure what to expect from this album. Definitely one of their best and one of the best of 2009! Stoked to score this on pink vinyl.

gadzooksmikeyp (October 23, 2009)

I could use a little more hard-line. I'll say my order is:

1. Exit English
2. Iron Front
3. Change is a Sound
4. Dead FM.

I remember when dead came out I was a senior in highschool and I was thoroughly disappointed. It was good, but it was so much more sing-songy than EE. EE is still my favorite album of all time and Strike is my Favorite band of all time. Just saw them about a week ago, probably the best show ever.

publichousing (October 22, 2009)

I love how so many people bash Dead FM but so many love "I'm Your Opposite Number" which happens to sound like a B-Side off of Dead FM.

Overall, most solid album but most boring. And though I do enjoy it and would never dog this band, the songs blend in with eachother and the album lacks a stand out song like "Refusal" or "To The World" or "Sedition".

Also, I think it's stupid that whenever a political punk band is mentioned, so many people compare the lyrics to Anti-Flag's and bash Anti-Flag's words. The truth is most of Anti-Flag's lyrics are quite informative and straight forward but get overshadowed by their few songs like "Fuck The Flag" and "Die For The Government".
Sometimes it's better to have an informative and factual, yet simple, lyrical basis so people, like me, of the working class and uneducated backgrounds can understand and make our own judgements.

Anyway, Strike Anywhere are great and they put on one hell of a show!

cheesetits (October 21, 2009)

So good....

damnitsderek (October 20, 2009)

I'm really enjoying this so far. The Crossing and Blackbirds Roar are absolutely fucking terrific.

jonnyrawker (October 20, 2009)

This album has the balls that Dead FM was lacking. Fucking great record. Songwriting and production has been stepped up 10 fold. Thank god.

thirtyseconds (October 19, 2009)

I just can't stop listening to this!

jaydischord (October 18, 2009)

Pretty good album in my opinion....that said, its hardly ground breaking is it?.....

oldpunkerforever (October 18, 2009)

My top 5 for the year so far:
Strike Anywhere- 1
Dear Landlord - 2
Aggrolites- 3
Rancid - 4
Hope Sandoval- 5

-oldpunker-

benwhite (October 18, 2009)

Why is everyone dogging Dead FM. It wasn't a fast record, but lyrically I thought it was stronger than most of their previous records. Iron Fron kicks ass. Either this or Supporting Caste for number 1 in 2009.

xcarlupanddiex (October 18, 2009)

Supporting Caste is the punk album to beat for 2009.

This is not even close.

hobbzoid (October 17, 2009)

you guys are so weird. Every record kinda sounds like Strike Anywhere. Don't understand all the picky. Dead FM was righteous.

hobbzoid (October 17, 2009)

you guys are so weird. Every record kinda sounds like Strike Anywhere. Don't understand all the picky. Dead FM was righteous.

Hubitcherkokov (October 17, 2009)

Change is a Sound is a great record and, barring some awkward moments, features their least egregious lyrics. I've heard Iron Front once thus far and it initially sounds better than Exit English or Dead FM.

onegirlarmy (October 17, 2009)

Ditto to what Brian said, though I wouldn't call it their worst album. Dead FM had way more filler than this. It's just good.

Lars_Frederiksen (October 17, 2009)

First will and testament Vs. Last will and testament?

propagandhi wins by a hair, because dreadlocks are stupid.

R3vengeTherapy (October 17, 2009)

Chasing Hamburg is hardly a punk album. This record fits that description quite well. Too bad it doesn't do much for me. I loved this band, but this just feels like a re-tread. Dead FM is the best thing this band will ever do, not sure why so many people are down on it.

This record could have been better and more memorable if they'd experimented a little bit. Maybe if those flashes of really cool guitar that appear in songs towards the middle of the record (don't remember, maybe "Spectacular" or "Omega Footprint" is one of them) were used more, the record would feel less like I've heard it 100 times before.

I still think this band writes some of the best social/political lyrics, but I just don't care about this record very much.

____Win_Win_Situation____ (October 17, 2009)

you ever hear the 80s chicago band called strike against? SO FUCKING GOOD!

xshoutoutx (October 17, 2009)

"PBC was the "punk album to beat" and this failed." --mikexdude

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... when did PBC become Propagandhi's new moniker?

returnofdebs (October 17, 2009)

just to clarify the actual group iron front opposed a militarily led communism. not really sure they would oppose hippies working at co-ops.

SKAtepunk (October 17, 2009)

Score is for the phrase "got-damned" I miss King of the hill already

donfeo (October 17, 2009)

This is pretty damn good.

But Chorus of One will always, always be their best release.

Notes on Pulling the Sky Down is one of my top five songs, exclamation point.

telegraphrocks (October 17, 2009)

Though I still believe this is Strike Anywhere's worst, and hold true to my "6" score, it's still miles above Supporting Caste.
As a Propagandhi fan, I must say that aside from "Night Letters" and "The Banger's Embrace", that is one dull fucking record... those guys have to get over themselves.

Oh... what? I should get over MYSELF, you say? Don't need to... I already know I suck.

shark-e (October 17, 2009)

Hey asshole. Back off of Taco Bell.

brett-nola (October 16, 2009)

Haven't listened to Iron Front yet (but I will soon), but here's my overall opinion of Strike Anywhere:

Dead FM wasn't thaaaaaaaaat bad. At the very least, it was a mile ahead of Exit English.

Now let's get some more Taco Bell gift cards and keep on making anarchy palatable for consumers.

returnofdebs (October 16, 2009)

i bought this after the show at the beat kitchen last saturday and have been listening to it for a week straight. failed state? are you kidding me? this things is kicking my ass as well as everything else that has come out this year. sorry supporting caste. :(

this album is a ten on it's own, but i'm rating thomas for tolerating my drunk ignorance after the show out on the street. class act and a kick ass album.

icapped2pac (October 16, 2009)

Really good. And I guess I'm one of few who liked Exit English the best. Maybe that's because it was my introduction to them.

theproblemwithfire (October 16, 2009)

propagandhi's supporting caste is way better than this. i agree with the guy below who said:

"on a sadder note though, I've grown tired of their lyrics and to an extent the vocals as well, the delivery is always the same, the topics are the same, it's kinda like anti-flag's sloganeering, but more intelligent."

trix4kids (October 16, 2009)

awesome!

mattramone (October 16, 2009)

Hands down their best release.

fishnchips (October 16, 2009)

Solid. Stoked to see them Nov 1st.

defianceohioequalslove (October 16, 2009)

I fucking LOVE this record. It's like it took everything that was great about their past records, and combined it all. Like they took the anger of "Chorus Of One", and the melody of "Dead FM", and mixed it together.

So fuckin happy with the outcome, and just the fact that they're PISSED again. My favorite straight-up punk cd this year.

spoon_of_grimbo (October 16, 2009)

this is fucking immense. i'd say "western scale" is their best track since "to the world."

Blackjaw_ (October 16, 2009)

It's good, but on the fairly rare occassion I want to listen to Strike Anywhere, I'd always just put on the Inquisition record or Exit English. The rest, including this, I don't really bother with... not that they're bad. I love Thomas' vocals and the band is talented, it's just that because of the genre they're in, the songs kind of blend together so I don't really keep 'em on for long.

LooseKanonYankee (October 16, 2009)

Love this album, Love this band
but if you think Strike Anywhere has changed at all
over their career you're crazy
its all fast melodic hardcore, all the albums
are the same style, the org is just crazy picky

Jelone (October 16, 2009)

Eastcoast - Fact check who's been reviewing the Souls' seven-inch series on this site.

ashtraymonument (October 16, 2009)

Blown apart

deadpan (October 16, 2009)

got-damned?

chadreligion (October 16, 2009)

Great Album, and probably their best since Exit English.
Not to mention, it totally makes up for that turd, Dead FM.
A couple of songs I can do without, but regardless, probably one of the top ten punk records this year.
Score is for the record on a whole.

mikexdude (October 16, 2009)

Need to check this out. As for filler, that new PBC album is caked with filler.

None of the songs on that album sound the same like what's on this.

shark-e (October 16, 2009)

When I comment in class, I should focus more on the typing than the professor. Holy typos.

shark-e (October 16, 2009)

I agree with this review wholeheartedly. I might even go so far as to rank this a tie with Chorus of One in the Strike Anywhere rankings. My roommate was surprised when he came downstairs on morning and neither "the Crossing" nor "I'm Your Opposite Number" wasn't playing.
Also, does anyone think eastcoastneurotic is a Souls fan?

jamespastepunk (October 16, 2009)

Score's for Dead FM.

Iron Front's fantastic, too. Postcards From Home steals the show on this record. Holy shit, kids.

nocigar (October 16, 2009)

Need to check this out. As for filler, that new PBC album is caked with filler.

jo_punk_promoter (October 16, 2009)

seriously wow, this is the best thing they ever put out.

hobbzoid (October 16, 2009)

Best LP yet. So great. Great review.

ffwoodycooks (October 16, 2009)

its solid.
nowhere near a 9, however.

red_eye_inc (October 16, 2009)

Not as good as the last one. Kind of forgettable but fun when I was listening to it.

thepopeofchili-town (October 16, 2009)

I wasn't floored by the new Polar Bear Club like I was the last one, but that record is still head and shoulders above this.

telegraphrocks (October 16, 2009)

"It's good. Can't say I'd go beyond that; it's their "worst" record among a real solid catalog."

Bingo.
When I listen to it, I really enjoy it, but with the exception 2 or 3 songs it's just so forgettable. I've listened to this thing like 25 times, and can barely remember shit.

chrisafi (October 16, 2009)

Excellent album, in the top 10 for the year I think.

Dead FM had so so many dud tracks - this has maybe one.

oldpunkerforever (October 16, 2009)

I knew MikexDude would defend his PBC, sorry. This blows your PBC outta the water. And "filler", thats just laughable. -oldpunker-

TheMarc (October 16, 2009)

I dunno, I kinda think this could be their best album yet. "I'm Your Opposite Number" and "Western Scale" are awesome tracks, and overall it just sounds a lot more aggressive than Dead FM.

mikexdude (October 16, 2009)

failed*

mikexdude (October 16, 2009)

As far as I'm concerned, PBC was the "punk album to beat" and this failed. It's pretty good, but I wish it was a completely dark record like Fail State. The second half of the album is perfect, the first... not so much. A lot of the short fast tracks seem like filler.

Inquisitions Rev... > Chorus of One > Exit English > Change > Dead FM > Iron

oldpunkerforever (October 16, 2009)

Wow, wow, and wow, what a brilliant release and as with some posts already, right up at the top of their best work. Just listening to this on the way into work and good grief I was singing along at the top of my lungs to this. Spectacular, Im your opposite number are my 2 favs so far. It is a band like this that make me proud to be an east coast punk, well done SA, well done-oldpunker-

conduit (October 16, 2009)

My favorite record from this band since Change Is A Sound. Score is for this album and this review.

MN_DrNick (October 16, 2009)

This is the third of a holy trinity for me with this band starting with Exit English and Dead FM.

eastcoastneurotic (October 16, 2009)

I haven't listened to Iron Front yet, but have been waiting for it for a long time- I mainly just wanted to point out that the Bouncing Souls didn't 'avoid' a full length release, they recorded one and are releasing it in a non-traditional way, which includes one song a month for 12 months, four 7s with an 'extra' song on each one (which makes 16 songs in total) and a full release of the album at the end of the year (.. ah, yes, a full length). This will be their 8th or 9th full length album in 20 years- come on dude, do you know what a fact check is? it's what makes journalism credible.

friokir (October 16, 2009)

agree 100% with the dude below me. chorus of one is so-so good it makes me weep.

on a sadder note though, I've grown tired of their lyrics and to an extent the vocals as well, the delivery is always the same, the topics are the same, it's kinda like anti-flag's sloganeering, but more intelligent.

notfeelingcreative (October 16, 2009)

I disagree, I think this is the best material they've put out since 'Chorus of One'

Order wise I'd have to say:

1. Chorus of One EP
2. Iron Front
3. Exit English
4. Change is a sound
5. Dead FM

I know I'm gonna get shit for this, because everyone thinks "Change is a sound" was their best material, but whatever! I stand by my list (at least for now).

inagreendase (October 15, 2009)

It's good. Can't say I'd go beyond that; it's their "worst" record among a real solid catalog.

My review's in the current issue of everyone's favorite rag.

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