Editor's Rating

Have a listen to: "The Great Divide" and "Fabled World"

Rating out of 10

Anti-Flag – American Spring

Release Date: 25th May 2015
Spinefarm Records

19 years after their debut album ‘Die for Your Government’, Anti-Flag refuse to give up the fight with their 9th Studio release ‘American Spring‘. Up there in the ranks with NOFX and Rise Against for their protest punk rock, The Pittsburgh legends are keeping the message alive with the politically themed anthems people have come to know them for.

Opener (or should I say eye-opener) track ‘Fabled World’ is one of those angst-ridden anthems about how shit the world is in simple terms, touching on the topics of genocide, slavery, and corporate fascism. Though with a chorus so catchy, using the words “We live in a fabled woooorld” accompanied by plenty of “woahhs”, there is no doubt that this will become a hit with fans and is likely to hook in some new ones. Following that ‘The Great Divide’ adds a lot more punch musically; that same slightly aggressive yet fun atmosphere that Anti-Flag gave us on their track ‘You Are Fired’ from their album ‘The People or the Gun’ (2009). Both tracks are a short but enthusiastic burst of energy – pure pit starters.

While Anti-Flag still have a fire in their bellies to deliver lyrics with meaning and topics that the world really needs to wake up to, the music itself on ‘American Spring‘ seems somewhat filler and slightly bland on record in comparison to the likes of ‘Terror State’ (2003) and ‘For Blood and Empire’ (2006). A-F have become the ‘nice’ sounding punk-rock band I hoped they would never become, writing more of the slow burner type of songs – songs that are anthemic lyrically instead of the pure energetic, chaotic and almost hardcore punk-esque type tracks that lured a lot of fans in.

Giving credit where it is due, parts of ‘American Spring‘ really do grow on you; pretty much every chorus is in some way quite catchy. Lyrics like “walk away, walk away” in ‘Walk Away’ or “I will wait at the Brandenburg Gate, at the Brandenburg Gate I’ll wait” in the recent single ‘Brandenburg Gate’ featuring punk legend Tim Armstrong from Rancid really do bring you in and you’ll find yourself sing along to the quite repetitive choruses.

American Spring‘ is an album to be patient with. Once you become familiar with the songs they become more enjoyable each time you listen, but they really don’t have the same edge that classic songs like ‘Turncoat’ or ‘The Press Corpse’ have, and never will. Luckily a lot of these new tracks that Anti-Flag have been performing live do go down extremely well with the crowd! They seem to create a much better atmosphere when played live than they do on the studio release. Figure that one out…