Red Animal War - Seven Year War (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Red Animal War

Seven Year War (2006)


While it seems that in the last few years we've seen a few of Fugazi's most impressionable followers make waves in the indie rock community only to abruptly dissolve (Bear vs. Shark, Despistado, I'm looking your way), there are some still kicking around -- and have been for a bit, at that. One of these is Red Animal War, who inaugurate their seventh year of existence with the appropriately titled Seven Year War, which draws five songs from compilations and 7"s and adds two live tracks and six new songs to help round it out.

What results is a collection of jagged, raw, and dense post-hardcore that can offer moments of solemn, concentrated reflection ("FFB," which offers a short, random African tribal beat sample at its end), or juggernauts of full-throttle, hoarse-throated rock ("The Insanity"). You can give the band all the time in the world, and they'll still manage to offer something different every few seconds; case in point, the 5-minute "Enterfear," which manages to be rhythmic and shaking with a salsa-like vigor at its most alive peaks, and subtlely building at its quieter valleys. "Did You See It in the Sky?" vocally somersaults over careful plinks of piano. Particularly impressive is the live version of "77" for its beginning vocal triumphs, furiously spat and conquering the audience's attention.

If you still have no idea what this sounds like, J. Robbins produced three of the tracks. This sort of guarantees Jawbox and Burning Airlines comparisons abroad with the band already playing that style of D.C. post-hardcore to begin with.

Disjointed? Sure, but it's a compilation we're talking here (though the label awkwardly intends it as full-length no. 4 for the band). Lengthy? At 51 minutes, yeah, just a bit. But Seven Year War surely manages to offer up a sound and matching production that could make you swear this is a product of the 1990 punk scene in only the best of ways.