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MUSIC REVIEW: ANTI-FLAG – Lies They Tell Our Children

| 6 January 2023 | Reply

Label: Spinefarm

Release Date: January 6, 2023

Rating: 92%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Punk has never been a genre I have aligned myself with… even with all the metal and hard rock I get into.  Turning over a new leaf at the turn of the year, I decided I am going to be open to more music, genres, and bands than I have allowed myself to do in the past.  After spinning the latest from Anti-Flag, I am happy I made this decision. Disc opener “Sold Everything” is an interesting ode that could be reflective of the recent pandemic and lockdown, but could also run deeper as most with the punk scene does.  The dual vocals that twist atop the guitars, bass, and drums is a perfect accent that drives the point home without overshadowing the music.  “Modern Meta Medicine” is a little more aggressive track than the opener, giving us a driving beat combined with chugging riffs and some guest vocals from Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach that pair nicely with singer Justin Sane.  The overall vibe of the track is what I expect to hear, but better.  Sonically the track digs in and makes you listen from open to close.  “The Fight Of Our Lives” is one of the more contagious tracks on the disc (with the exception of my personal favorite “Nvrevr”).  The double threat on vocals of Sane with guests Tim McIlrath from Rise Against gives the song an extra push throughout.  The addition of Brian Baker from Bad Religion of guitars in addition to Chris Head’s fretwork thickens up the six-string attack.  Be sure to check out the solo laid across and woven into the bridge and transition.  “Victory Or Death (We Gave ‘Em Hell) is an anthemic song that should go over well live and get a lot of fists in the air.  The feel of the track brings some Irish bands to mind, but this is all Anti-Flag with a kicker from Die Toten Hosen’s Campino.  “Shallow Graves” featuring Tré Burt opens with a seemingly less intense cadence, but builds from open to close and falls in line with the rest of the disc.  While not a standout on the collection, it is a good addition to the other songs giving us a glimpse into the bands different sounds.  Disc closer “Only In My Head” takes us back to the method that has made this group of Pittsburgh, PA punk successful enough to be thirteen albums into a career.  The song creates the perfect bookend for the disc, tying together the different sounds of the disc prompting you to kick the disc to the top and listen through at least one more time.

“Laugh. Cry. Smile. Die” sees Silverstein’s Shane Told joining the Anti-Flag foursome and adding a bit of punch to the feel of the track.  The bottom end anchored by drummer Pat Thetic shows off his grasp of the job at hand with time changes and some cool fills tossed in for good measure.  The chorus is catchy and gets you singing along by time the second pass comes around.  “Imperialism” is another song that grabs you like an earworm and buries itself in your subconscious and pops up when you least expect it (for me it was during a conference call discussing tax planning).  The offset of Pinkshift’s Ashrita Kumar on vocals gives the track a different texture.  This song stands up and out and helps the disc more accessible sonically.  “The Hazardous” is a straightforward rocker that delivers on every level.  The bottom end featuring thundering bass lines from Chris #2 keeps the song moving along while the guitars change texture and the vocals dial overtop the track.  The different vocal from Sane bring different emphasis at times that boost the track.  “Work & Struggle” chugs and tromps through solidly with guitars and bass swirling while the drums keep time.  The vocals are perfectly layered a nice kick to the teeth of the disc and keep the punk flag waving strong and proud along with the other punk tracks and rockers sprinkled across the disc. While a bit different than a lot of songs here, the overall feel blends with the tracks that surround it in the tracklist.  “NVREVR” is hands down my favorite track on the disc.  There is something about this that takes me back to the 80’s while sounding fresh lacing a killer rock sound with a bit of punk attitude.  Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s Stacey Dee is featured on this track and offers up a great vocal offset for the lead vocals we have come to expect from Justin.  The catchy chorus is fun and exciting to sing along to.  As I mentioned earlier, 2023 is the year I expose myself to new music… after spinning the latest from Anti-Flag, I am happy I made this decision.

Tracklisting: Sold Everything – Modern Meta Medicine – Laugh. Cry. Smile. Die. – The Fight Of Our Lives – Imperialism – Victory Or Death (We Gave ‘Em Hell) – The Hazardous – Shallow Graves – Work & Struggle – NVREVR – Only In My Head







Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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