Review Summary: Another great album proving they still have what it takes to stand up with the best of them.
Anti-Flag is back with their 9th studio album in 20 years since releasing their debut album Die For the Government in 1995. In that time, they've managed to build their careers on a pop-punk sound with a lyrical focus on anarchy, and maintain it by staying consistent on that sound. This isn't a band that wants to change, and their fans are more then happy with that. If you've listened to any of their previous offerings, then you know what you're getting yourself into, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
They come out of the gates charging with one of the best songs on the album “Fabled World,” with its infectious chorus of anti-capitalism and verses conjuring up images of daydreaming kids, American heroes, and slavery. It's one of the more pop oriented songs on the album, but it proves Anti-Flag are back and still know how to make great songs, and proves a promising start to an album that refuses to slow down. The next song is one of the shortest on the record, dialing the punk aspect of their sound up drastically while still maintaining a sense of pop. The song serves as a great bridge to the come, which is easily their poppiest yet. "Brandenburg Gate" (with it's great chorus that's simple and fun) sadly wastes one of the coolest aspects of the song, with Tim Armstrong of Rancid fame showing up as a guest vocalist only to have two lines in the second verse. On top of that, he's not even used as a back up on the chorus, which is a shame since it's a great song. The album continues with this formula throughout its duration, with some really fun punk standing next to great, sing along friendly choruses and a bombastic energy level. The lyrics aren't the best, but they're hardly cringe worthy (except for the rather juvenile chorus to "Break Something"), so singing along won't be to embarrassing.
All in all, this is still Anti-Flag, continuing to chug along and create great pop-punk anthems that will have you raging against "the man." They manage to stay relevant with their topics, touching on subjects ranging from the Occupy Movement with the wage disparity charged song of "The Great Divide," the Fukushima disaster in "The Debate Is Over (If You Want It)," too the drone controversy in "Sky is Falling." This isn't an album that's designed to bring in any new fans. This is a band that knows what their audience wants, and is more than happy meeting that goal.