Review Summary: To live in discontent stamps Strike anywhere's reputation as one of the most vital, impressive and important acts in modern day melodic-hardcore or hardcore in general; while seamlessly including their influences in the meaty mix
Bands put out compilation albums as a way to either gain more money or to satisfy their fans as a means to keep their fans busy before the next release. Most of the time these albums are a showcase of mediocrity and the greater part of the songs make you feel like those songs should’ve been kept as b-sides. To live in discontent on the other hand is chock full of poignant and anthemic songs that would fit on any other Strike anywhere release
Once you hear lines like "Poverty is the strongest safest jail government ever built", you know straight away that Strike anywhere isn't your typical punk band and it's fully apparent that the band grew up near D.C. Though it is a compilation album, all of the songs fit together seamlessly except for the strange but energetic "Sunspotting". Despite it being a compilation album, Strike anywhere never manages to lose any of its Virginia based political vitriol. Whether it is from the brain stinging and extremely frenetic delivery of Thomas Barnett’s vocal delivery; to Garth Petrie's impressive bass delivery that is reminiscent of Fugazi. The boys from Richmond never let up for a second in their pursuit for justice and unity.
Every aspect of the strike anywhere core is at their finest and the boys seem to be completely gelled together and on the same page. Whether it is the raging basslines of Antidote and Asleep to the literally Incendiary nature of "incendiary", the boys have such cohesiveness that helps amplify what they want to say in a more visceral fashion with a surprising amount of catchiness. The duo of the Matt’s is a formidable one as one or the other ranges from wonderful melodies and kickass and fast riffs. Eric Kane is a notable mention and keeps the consistent pace that the band needs.
The lyrics have always been a highlight of the Strike Anywhere attack as the boys aren’t afraid of talking about such tabooed topics. Those include police brutality, anti-capitalism, animal rights and globalization. Strike anywhere has always had the tendency to deliver such thought-provoking lyrics and the boys aren't afraid to show their imaginative side as seen in the gem "notes on pulling the sky down" which is one of the best songs on the album and features one of the best breakdowns Strike anywhere has ever written. Antidote is also another highlight as it features some cool and beautiful chord progressions and extremely anthemic vocals.
Overall, the whole album stays at a fast pace except for “Notes of pulling the sky down”, “Two fuses” and “Antidote” which happen to be the best off the album. Two fuses is another highlight that is actually an Exit English outtake. In fact, it's such a good song that it could've been on Exit English easily.
So fast that some of the songs get a little predictable.
This is not to say that the faster songs are bad. In fact, they are all empowering songs that get you pumped. But this gets over done. This is the flaw of this album, intent on everything fast. Some of the songs seem to be so rushed (pace wise) that they seem to be incredibly unfocused as seen on "Asleep" and "Sunspotting" which really detract from the album. So much so that, the album starts to get boring from it’s over the top energy and lack of focus. This makes most of the songs more of the same and offers no variation. Which is what made Exit English so good after a few listens. But that’s not to say that they aren’t needed. The fast pace is needed to keep things interesting and is vital to the album, but gets over done in the end.
To live in discontent also features 3 covers by Cock Sparrer (Where are they now) Gorilla Biscuits (Two sides) and Dag Nasty (Values here). They are all adequate and nice to listen to but nothing special musically. But that wasn't the reason why they were included in the album. They are there to show where they get their skills and influences from and to pay tribute to who inspired them to do what they do today and to lead a new generation of punks.
To live in discontent stamps Strike anywhere's reputation as one of the most vital, impressive and important acts in modern day melodic-hardcore or hardcore in general; while seamlessly including their influences in the meaty mix.