Anti-Flag - ‘American Fall’ (Spinefarm Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gerald Stansbury   
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 04:00

Anti Flag artworkMost bands who have been around for over two decades are not expected to be releasing new albums that continue to set new high points in their career. It is hard in my mind to almost not consider this a sequel to the excellent ‘American Spring’ released back in 2015. The band trims this one back a bit by slimming the track list down to 11 songs. 

 

The first video from the album is lead track ‘American Attraction’, which bewildered some long-term fans as it utilizes some vocal effects and strikes in a way that modern rock radio should appreciate. The chorus is immediately memorable, and I think I was singing part of it by the second chorus the first time I heard the song. The band segue quickly into vintage sounding ‘The Criminals’ with a killer chorus that begins with the hook of “these are the days that test your heart and soul.” This really harkens back to their early days with a bigger recording budget and years of experience. 

 

New single and video ‘When the Wall Falls’ surprises with the band incorporating some ska into their sound. I hate to think how many times I have already heard this song. I love everything about it. The seamless dual lead vocals and the HUGE chorus set an early pinnacle for the album to continue to match, and, based on how many times I keep playing this album, I think I can safely say the band accomplished that. ‘Trouble Follows Me’ finds the band playing to a pop punk sound with a lot of “whoa, whoa, whoas” used throughout the song. This song has a tendency to be swallowed by the rest of the album but is still highly enjoyable. 

 

 

‘Finish What We Started’ is another favorite for me with relatively quiet verses leading into a big chorus. Anti-Flag has always had a knack for making musically upbeat songs that incorporate biting lyrics regarding society, and this album is no exception. ‘Liar’ could be pulled musically from ‘Die for your Government.’ Once again, the sound is huge with the mix being spot on throughout the album. 

 

‘Digital Blackout’ continues to pull from the early days with a glossier production. Another song that has come to mind while listening to this one is ‘New Noise’ by Refused, as the verses have a very similar feel. The musically uplifting ‘I came. I saw. I believed.’ is celebratory in feel and again features a monster hook. One of the other early tracks that was released from the album was ‘Racists,’ which appeared on cue with demonstrations here in America. The lyrics are not as deep as other songs have been on this record or in the past, but they didn’t need to be on this one. The sad thing is that this song is still relevant in today’s world. 

 

The modern feel returns with ‘Throw It Away’ being filled with more hooks and more effects on the vocals. It is refreshing to me for the band to be incorporating new elements throughout their sound, while still maintaining their own identity. Artistic growth can be a scary thought, but Anti-Flag show how well it can be done. The transition to closer ‘Casualty’ reminds us how quick this album is over and makes me continue to hit the repeat button. 

 

 

Production on the album was handled by the band and Benji Madden (Good Charlotte), and together they definitely created an album with commercial sensibilities and a huge sound. The touches such as those vocal effects on ‘American Attraction’ which was also co-produced by Stevie Aiello may be the result of suggestions by the co-producers, but Anti-Flag have always done just what the wanted so I don’t think anyone from the outside is changing their sound. The band again rewards fans who buy the physical product with a booklet packed with compelling artwork, lyrics, and inspirations behind the songs. 

   

My first exposure to the band was the title track of ‘Die For Your Government’ on a compliation album (remember those?) back when it was first released, which sent me right back to the record store to buy the album. I have seen the band grow and do things I could have never imagined, such as having RCA Records release one of their albums almost ten years ago. I definitely listen to some albums more than others by them, but the band is on a hot streak for my tastes. I am curious to see where they go from here, and I don’t envy the band having to put together a set list as the songs from this album should all get some time in the set. 

 

‘American Fall’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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