Review Summary: A record that could solidify Propagandhi's place as one of the best punk bands ever.
Canadian punk rockers, Propagandhi have undergone many changes in the past few years. For one, they now have a second guitarist known as David "The Beaver" Guillias and they parted was with Fat Wreck Chords and announced the closing of their own record label, G7 Welcoming Committee. Changes like this happen with bands, and sometimes it effects their music. Thankfully for Propagandhi, they have benefited from these changes as their fifth album, Supporting Caste may be their best album. Never before has the band been more focused, intelligent and pissed off than they are on here.
Things begin immediately with the epic, "Night Letters" which is a behemoth of an opening track with the thunderous chugging guitars to kick it off and the insane riffs in the verses. All of it is capped off with bassist Todd Kowalski's frantic shouting. It's quite possibly the most forceful and powerful openers they have ever written. Now with the opener setting the bar this high, you'd think the rest of the album would be a let down, right? Wrong.
Supporting Caste just gets better and better as it goes along, especially lyrically. Propagandhi are very skilled musicians what really makes them amazing are their lyrics, the title track having some of the best. ,"As we, the two-bits, are ushered on and swiftly off this stage with the jawbones of asses. No stirring curtain call for the masses. No floral bouquet. No breaking of legs. No recurring role. No artistic control." sings guitarist Chris Hannah, who can deliver lines like these better than anyone.
"Dear Coach's Corner" is another absolutely stellar track which criticizes Hockey Night In Canada broadcasters' Ron Maclean and Don Cherry, who frequently express ridiculous levels of nationalism and hype war propaganda during the show. "Specifically the function the ritual serves in conjunction with what everybody knows is, in the end, a kid's game. I'm just appealing to your sense of fair play when I say she's puzzled by this incessant pressure for her to not defy collective will and yellow ribboned lapels, as the soldiers inexplicably repel down from the arena rafters." The track also begins with an explosive solo from "The Beaver."
The band has extremely strong views on veganism and animal rights and they don't hold back when it comes to expressing them in their music, mainly on "Potemkin City Limits" and "Human(e) Meat (The Flensing of Sandor Katz). The latter having more of a satirical approach which comically shoots down the idea that it is possible to kill humanely. There are just too many examples for me to include in here of how fantastic the lyrics are on here. The best part is that they make you think. There were a few tracks on here where I was confused by the lyrics because I didn't know what they were about, but after researching the subject, they all made sense and the songs were even more amazing than before.
The overall sound of Supporting Caste is more of a combination of their last two albums. They've been progressing with this heavier approach ever since the riff-heavy, Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes and combined it with the more technical approach of Potemkin City Limits. The solos found in "Human(e) Meat" and "Dear Coach's Corner" are some of the best that they've ever done. There's also a few more straight-forward thrashers like "This Is Your Life" and "Incalculable Effects" which are powered by face-melting riffs. Even the more melodic songs like "Without Love" and "The Funeral Procession" have technical aspects which add to theie greatness. "Without Love" is a melodic masterpiece driven by the pounding beats of drummer Jord Samolesky behind the kit. It all comes together on "Last Will & Testament" which mainly revolves around an atmospheric build-up into another powerful track to end the album...almost. The secret track follows it, which is a hilarious yet genius cover of "Come To The Sabbat." This is absolutely nothing like the band has done before and I think it's a great way to close the album. After a whole album of ferocity and mind-blowing lyrics, a somewhat comical cover is a pretty cool way to end things.
Propagandhi have been completely re-energized as a band and the addition of a second guitarist contributed to them creating this mind-blowing record. his is an amazing combination of technicality, melody and heaviness. They are even more serious about what they are doing now and may just be the most important if not the best band currently playing punk music. Supporting Caste not only takes the cake as the band's best album but it may help them cement themselves as one of the greatest punk bands ever.
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