Review Summary: Strike Anywhere produce what could be their best album so far just in time for their 10 year anniversary.
If you love punk rock and have never listened to Strike Anywhere please go do so now. Strike Anywhere is back with their 4th studio album and it’s their best album to date. After a stint with Fat Wreck Chords and Jade Tree, Strike Anywhere has signed with hardcore punk label Bridge 9. Although they aren’t typical hardcore, they play an excellent mix of bouncy, pop punk mixed with hardcore yells and some borderline screaming. Iron Front is a short and sweet 30 minute album that should be in the top albums of 2009 list for any punk fan or hardcore fan alike.
The album opener “Invisible Colony” is one of the best songs off the record and one of the best openers I’ve heard this year. In the entire album there is just so much energy that it rarely (if ever) lets you sit still. What is most surprising about this album is the catchiness level, it’s off the charts. Technically speaking Strike Anywhere is billed as melodic hardcore which is exactly what this album is all about. It does nothing but emit punk from beginning to end yet it’s still able to maintain that little bit of harshness in the vocals that keeps everything interesting. If you just want a taste of what I’m talking about, go ahead and listen to “I’m Your Opposite Number” and you’ll understand exactly what I’m referring to. I’ve had the following lyrics stuck in my head since I first listened to that song.
“Lower the flags
Raise Up the Earth
Freedom 'til death
Death until birth”
“Hand Of Glory” sounds like a celtic punk mash up that might have been written with the guidance of the Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly. “The Crossing” has a section of chanting the lyric “borderlands” that is so infectious you’ll think it’s connected to herpes. The album is solid all around except it sort of drags a little bit in the middle. All the songs are great but for some reason the best ones seem to be found at the beginning and end of the album. I would go as far to say that this is Strike Anywhere’s magnum opus thus far. There isn’t a dull moment and it’s so catchy you’ll need to listen it to numerous times just to get everything that Barnett throws at you. Whilst only one song gets over 3 minutes, the time of the album is just perfect. It’s not too long being just the right amount that it’ll give you a decent Strike Anywhere fill that will probably only last for a couple hours before you have to listen to it again. “Summerpunks” is definitely the heaviest song on the album and also one of the catchiest also. It has a pretty neat but simple riff at the beginning that you most likely won’t forget. “First Will And Testament” is my personal favorite song off the album. The chorus is just so catchy and I have a hard time not listening to it over and over again.
There are some points in the album where it gets heavier and tends to drift off into a more hardcore pasture which I can only site as musical progression. While Strike Anywhere has always been a moderately political band, most of that theme seems to have been left on the writing table for this album. While they do have some lyrics based on topics of social or political don’t be too quick to throw them in the same category as Anti-Flag. If you can spare 30 minutes before the end of 2009 make sure you give this album its due justice. It’s the perfect mix of punk and hardcore that Strike Anywhere took 10 years to figure out (not that they weren’t great before this.)