Anti-Flag plays with new sound, not new politics

"It's hard to believe, but this is our most pissed off record ever," Justin Sane, lead singer and guitarist for Anti-Flag, said of the band's new album "The Terror State." "[It's] the result of what's going on with the current [Bush] administration ... you know things are just so out of control at this point."

None other than legendary Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave fame produced Anti-Flag's new album.

"Working with Tom was cool," said Sane. Anti-Flag met Morello when it toured with Rage Against the Machine. "He was great to us, really hospitable, really friendly ... it was exciting working with him on the record cause he's such a great musician ... he had creative ideas that he lent to the project and in the end made the entire record more interesting."

"The Terror State" is definitely a progression for Anti-Flag, using its old sounds and mixing in fresh ideas, yet keeping the same political message. The explanation in the liner notes after most of the songs is nice, informing listeners that research went into the writing process. On this release Anti-Flag uses poppier riffs and catchier choruses, while skirting the mainstream. Anti-Flag once again sings of political activism and unity, this time with a much easier target: George W. Bush. The album starts right off with the band's distaste for Bush with the song "Turncoat's" sing-along chorus being "turncoat, killer, liar, thief," the reasoning behind the name-calling is then clearly explained on the next page of the booklet. Songs like "Mind the G.A.T.T." move away from Anti-Flag's more familiar sound and into the realm of experimental, using more imagery in the lyrics and unique guitar and bass parts.

Sane said Anti-Flag decided to try and create a different sound on this record compared with previous releases.

"But there's songs on there ... like 'Sold as Freedom' ... or like 'Tearing Down the Borders' ... those songs are very Anti-Flag sounding," said Sane. "But then there are songs that are not as traditional ... we wanted to progress as a band ... at the same time we realized when somebody buys our record they're expecting something that sounds like us ... we didn't want to let them down."

"The Terror State" has much more information in the linear notes than any other Anti-Flag album too date.

"We thought instead of trying to put ... all this vague information on a hundred different topics it would be better to narrow it down and give limited information on a number of topics," said Sane. "When you're like, 'here's a list of five-hundred Web sites, look at them all,' you know nobody can do that."

One of the songs on Anti-Flag's new album, "I'm a Post-War Breakout" was written by Woody Guthrie, a political activist who wrote the song 40 years ago. However, Anti-Flag wrote the music for this version.

"The Terror State," is well produced but manages to stay rough enough around the edges to be interesting. On some of the songs the overuse of clich? slogans such as "the people united will never be defeated" let down the overall feel of the album to some degree, making the message seem old and stale. This said Anti-Flag has managed to produce an album with a political message, a good amount of information and fast powerful songs catchy enough for sing-alongs. Now that Americans have started to notice there's a problem in the land of the free, with films like "Bowling for Columbine," and with celebrities stating their distaste for the United States, maybe they will notice Anti-Flag too, who has been fighting the fight all along.

Anti-Flag is scheduled to be on tour for the next few months with Rise Against, Against Me, None More Black and the Vacancy. Check out more on the band at Anti-Flag.com.

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