Review Summary: Anti-Flag's most powerful and diverse album. Their [i]London Calling[/i].
In the conversation of 90s poppy punky rock n roll bands, there are a few bands that always come up: NOFX, Rancid, Green Day, and, sometimes, Anti-Flag. Known for creating very leftwing political punk rock, Anti-Flag pushes few boundaries (assuming most punk does) but manages to create fun, memorable but thought-provoking music.
is easily their most diverse and creative release.
A major problem with their previous releases was the monotonous consistency with the speed and execution. But every song here is easily distinguishable not only for the difference in choruses, but also for different tempos and chord changes. "Angry, Young, and Poor" has a great melody line and works as an excellent album opener. Leading into the faster "This Machine Kills Fascist" keeps the momentum of the record going into the title track, which is one definitely of Anti-Flag's best songs and recalls A New Kind of Army
to a great degree.
Many tracks are much faster than anything AF has done previously, including "This Machine...", "Vieques, Puerto Rico - Bikini Revisted", and "The Panama Deception", which fills the ska-punk gap that is essential in every late 90s, early 2000s punk release. Of course, the signature Anti-Flag anthems are there with the title track and "Stars and Stripes", which are probably some of the better punk anthems of any band signed to Fat Wreck Chords. In addition, we hear a new side of AF with "Culture Revolution", one of their more interesting songs in their long catalog (by punk standards).
Another highlight of the album is Chris #2 being showcased as lead singer on the songs "Daddy Warbux" and "Bring Out Your Dead", which gives the band a much more abrasive sound with his raspy melodies. His voice gives a boost to the weak "Daddy..." and, IMO, is infinitely better than Justin Sane's nasal whine.
Overall, the songwriting is far stronger than on previous recordings and the group is more together than ever. The melodies are excellent, the basslines are phenomenal as always, and the subject matters are diverse, thought-provoking, and sometimes just great fun. By far, this album is Anti-Flag's best release and really set the tone for what was to come in their politically-active world.