Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Anti-Flag - The Terror State
Politically driven punk is their game and they aren't afraid to shy away from it. Several of their songs, Mind the G.A.T.T. and Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.), even use some of President Bush's speeches riddle throughout them. As a punk band I've always admired that they kept a healthy mixture of aggressive vocals and harmonizing. Overall pretty solid.
I've always been pretty suspicious of politically charged bands, mostly because I think that limiting yourself to writing about just one topic restricts the kind music you can create. I don't mind political songs, but I think NOFX is an example of a band that does manage to address politics without getting pigeonholed as purely political punk: for every Murder the Government there's a Bob, if you will.
So when I saw this album popping up on the review list, my first thought was: "Oh fuck, here we go, another boring hour of somebody screaming angrily". Thankfully my fears where misplaced, and The Terror State is a hugely enjoyable album. I can't vouch for the lyrics, as I never really pay attention to them, but the music exceeded my expectations at every turn. Well, honestly it didn't start out all peachy; after the comparatively weak first two tracks (Death of A Nation and Fuck the Flag), I was about ready to throw in the flag myself. They seemed to confirm my fears: no one was quite screaming yet, but it wasn't much more than shouting over a generic punk beat, nothing new there. However, I reminded myself of my sacred duties as a reviewer and pushed on... and to my great surprise encountered Mind the G.A.T.T.; The musical progressions were switched up to something a little less predictable and the band actually started singing and even harmonizing. It was lovely. The album continued to switch it up between shouting, visceral punk and some more subdued tracks, even throwing in the acoustic Protest Song.
Twelve short songs later I was disappointed not to have any more of the album to listen to.