I love discovering artists that are similar to favorites of mine. It’s especially nice when said discoveries come courtesy of friends of mine. One of my oldest pals came to me a few months ago, telling me that I needed to check out a band based on an approximation he had drawn between them and Afi
. Now, as he is quite possibly the biggest A Fire Inside fan that I know of (as well as being one of the hardest people to impress that I‘ve ever met), I realized that he must have discovered something special. Well, he had: Thought Riot. Judging by their debut album, Shattered Mirror Syndrome
, it’s easy to see why they would draw such comparisons.
For one thing, the album captures more of the anarcho-punk sensibility of Afi’s previous works, before their gravitation to something of a goth-punk band. The members of Thought Riot advocate progressive, radical political statements, and it carries over into their music. Shattered Mirror Syndrome
exudes a sense of enthusiasm, angst, rancor, frustration, and raw energy. It’s politically charged punk rock at its finest. Thought Riot may further draw comparisons to Afi due to their unique blending of overtly simple hardcore instrumentation, with dexterously hooky turbocharged pop-punk techniques. That’s not to say that there’s anything poppy about Shattered Mirror Syndrome
’s contents. Quite to the contrary, the entire disc is furiously unrelenting. This is a good thing; it makes for an accessible, as well as enjoyable listen. As you may expect, the lyrics sheet contains a good deal of metaphorical political statements. If anything, this only serves to accentuate the high-octane tones of the album. Everything seems to come together with near-perfect synergy, while retaining a unique sense of style and flow. Shattered Mirror Syndrome
is a fine example in how to present a punk album; it’s a supremely polished package.
Songs that veer off more towards the hardcore side of things; such as “Breaking Old Tablets,” “On Friends and Mistakes,” and “Black Watch” serve less as heralds of Thought Riot’s message, and more as simple, yet effective ways of assimilating you with Shattered Mirror Syndrome
. As for heralding, you have tracks like “All For God, and Gun For All,” “American Deity,” “Patriot,” “Not Out Property,” and “Duality of the Revolutionary” for that purpose. These songs make up the crux of the album, showcasing the intelligence and maturity that Thought Riot oftentimes display in their songwriting. “Save the Humans,” “Encomienda,” “Sign of the Times,” and “Struggle” represent the juxtaposition of the hardcore/anarcho/pop-punk fusion. These songs support the flesh of Shattered Mirror Syndrome
. “Pillow Over the Face As Therapy” is a wild card of sorts. It doesn’t fall quite in step with the rest of the album, but that’s hardly a bad thing.
Shattered Mirror Syndrome
is not without it’s detractions, however. It’s rather tedious to listen to, and offers little incentive for multiple playbacks (especially since the songs seem to blend together, making it hard to differentiate between them). However, if you look past that, you find yourself with a solid punk album. While it’s neither anything new or revolutionary, Shattered Mirror Syndrome
accomplishes its goal in due fashion. Keep an eye on Thought Riot; they could spontaneously combust at any time.
On this record Thought Riot is:
Kelley Dangerously (Guitar, vocals)
Robby Goodson (Guitar, vocals)
Marc Riot (Lead Vocals)
As an aside, I will mention that I don’t usually list band members in my reviews. However, in this case, since Thought Riot’s member’s names scream “anarchism” (to a point), I thought it would be appropriate.