After the American Spring there was bound to be an American Fall, better known as Anti-Flag‘s 10th studio record and nearing November 3rd release. Taking a stand as always lyrically, and inspired by the current political climate and affairs, their latest not only has perfect timing, but perfect meaning for those who are fed up with living in such divisive and worrisome times. Anti-Flag have always been vocal about their beliefs, but American Fall takes it a step further by relaying their powerful message, while also making it crystal clear. As motivated and potent as ever, they’ve come out with an album that though isn’t their catchiest, is one of their most important yet.
American Fall opens up with their first single release, “American Attraction,” which has an attraction of its own. Not only is it one of the most catchy songs on the entire record, but it features Anti-Flag at their best. Following is “The Criminals,” and its motivational in its delivery. With a more intense vocal approach and a striking bass line, Anti-Flag’s second track rejects the criminality, while being one of the most anthemic tracks on American Fall. Shoutout to Chris#2, who’s energetic presence adds even more depth to tracks like these.
Anti-Flag – “American Attraction”
Leaning towards a more ska-edge is “When The Wall Falls.” It adds a new dimension to the record with gang vocals and more upbeat instrumentals featured throughout. The two tracks that follow it, “Trouble Follows Me” and “Finish What We Started,” are good chorus-wise. Unfortunately, they still aren’t as undeniable as others. The song structure in both of these are a little less dynamic, and a bit repetitive; However, lyrically they shine. Picking back up the pace is “Liar,” and it has a pure punk attitude and an intense drive. Full throttle and impassioned, this track is one of the best on American Fall. “Digital Blackout” opens up with one of the strongest intros on the record, and has a more aggressive approach vocally as Justin Sane calls out, “For war we live, For peace we die.”
The saying may be that ignorance is bliss, but that’s no longer an excuse, and Anti-Flag are making that clear with the incendiary, “Racists.” Already previously released as a single, it still stands as one of American Fall‘s most essential listens. “Throw It Away” continues the momentum as another infectious, yet eye-opening, track. This track does exactly what Anti-Flag set out to achieve with a more melodic sound that as Justin states, “makes the pill easier to digest.” Closing the record is “Casualty,” which doesn’t cap things off as strongly as it begins with “American Attraction.” Regardless, it communicates something that needs to be heard with lyrics like, “Try to shut us down, but we won’t be another casualty.” It not only provides a fitting end, but rallies until the very last note.
Anti-Flag – “Racists”
On a critical note, though American Fall is by no definition a bad record, it isn’t as solid or catchy as previous releases, like For Blood And Empire. Grant it, this one is a grower so give it some time if needed. While the simplicity of the record allows its message to take the forefront, some tracks play it too safe musically. For example, “I Came. I Saw. I Believed” falls within the Anti-Flag formula, but it doesn’t do much to stand out. With the remainder of the songs hiding in the spotlight of songs like, “American Attraction,” “The Criminals,” “Racists,” “Liar,” and “Throw It Away,” I can’t help but wonder if American Fall would have been better served as a collectively strong EP rather than an 11-track full-length.
On a more positive note, those tracks just mentioned are extremely strong with their emphasis on hooks and melody. Displaying perfectly the anthemic quality of their rock infused punk sound, outings like these are a major success that sound great not just on record, but also in the live setting. It plays as a sonically pleasing record, but its best quality is its significance. With American Fall, Anti-Flag are continuing to break walls and barriers. Set to uplift communities stricken by war, racial upheaval, and financial collapse, it’s one of the most empowering records of 2017.
Anti-Flag’s American Fall releases this Friday, November 3rd via Spinefarm Records. If you have yet to pick up your copy of the record, you can do so here. Excited for their new release? Comment and let us know!
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