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ALBUM REVIEW: ANTI-FLAG – 20/20 VISION

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ANTI-FLAG

2020 VISION

(Spinefarm)

Politically charged 12 album of uncompromising pop punk.

★★★☆☆

The four-piece are on their 12th album and its full throttle, guitar fuelled hardcore pop punk. If it was released in 2003 they’d be the biggest band in the world. Honest and engaging with an abrasive vocal delivery, ‘20/20 Vision’ carries suburban tales of political dissatisfaction and life’s turbulence. Justin’s raw snarling blasts over strong grooves in the bass and drum rhythm section throughout the album. Known as political punk icons, the band chose to put Trump on the cover with his face crossed out in red. His voice opens the record speaking about coming down harder on protesters in ‘Hate Conquers All’. Anti-Flag vocalist/bassist, Chris #2, said, “the policies of Donald Trump and his administration are not just hateful. They’re racist, islamaphobic, homophobic, transphobic, and bigoted. We shouldn’t just try to kill these things with love and kindness. We should be in the streets daily, demanding an end to racial, social, and economic injustice.

‘You Make Me Sick’ is a highlight on the album, vocalist Justin lets go and brings a disturbing hate speech against an anonymous enemy. ‘Un-America’ delivers a musically mocking country feel as Justin sings of his struggle with being American at such an unsettled time. The band move seamlessly between full-blown musical onslaughts and single note riffing, a well-oiled machine after over a decade of touring and writing together. ‘2020 Vision’ is pretty relentless, with 11 fast tracks, coming in around 2.30 mins each. For fans of Billy Talent and Green Day, its full of pop punk chant along choruses, especially title track ‘2020 Vision’, ‘It Went Off Like A Bomb’ and ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down’. The band play super tight, ‘Christian Nationalist’ takes the pace down with a church organ until the drums kick in and ‘Resistance Frequencies’ brings in a heroic horn section.

Formed in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Anti-Flag have always been politically controversial and involved in activism. The left wing and human rights motivated group was founded by singer/guitarist Justin Sane and drummer Pat Thetic in 1988. They’re supporters of Greenpeace and Amnesty International and most recently, the band has declared solidarity with the global Occupy Together movement. Released on Spinefarm Records, the album opens with ‘Hate Conquers All’ which was also the first single to be shared by the band. Flying in the face of fear and inequality, the song demands hope. Climate devastation, racist/xenophobic immigration law and endless conflicts of public interest to serve high up business partners are all confronted on this album. Anti-Flag still want to see the empire fall. Their hearts are in the right place.

Paula Frost

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