What is a politically-charged punk rock band to do as the world crumbles around them? Fight back. Anti-Flag have made their most immediate record in quite some time on 20/20 Vision, one directly has the POTUS in mind with of all of the fist-pumping anthems to be found here. On their 12th studio album, the band has little left to prove, yet they continue to deliver some of the most consistently excellent punk rock found in music.
Opening up with the current single “Hate Conquers All,” one that intersperses Trump-dialogue about protesters, Anti-Flag waste little time getting down to the business at hand. With lyrics such as, “Hate conquers all / In the ashes of the fall / With our backs against the wall / Watch the empire fall / Watch the nation dissolve,” the band makes it crystal clear of the urgency of the political situation going on in DC. The song feels like a call to arms for people to wake the fuck up on all of the terror taking place in our very own country.
Other songs like “Christian Nationalist,” rock with a greater sense of urgency to get their message across before it’s too late. Lead singer Justin Sane described the song on their official website with this quote, “History is full of wealthy and powerful people using religion and cultism to justify policies of oppression and inequality. Invariably, these policies target the most vulnerable in society so that elites can maintain their dominance. Today we see this same strategy employed by right-wing politicians all over the world. Just as the anti-fascists of the 1930s and 1940s rejected the fascist ideologies of their era, we reject the neo-fascists of this era. Theocracy is dangerous and inherently anti-democratic because it restricts individual choice and provides an avenue by which politicians can claim a moral superiority over “the other.” It gives political cover and justification for policies and actions which might otherwise be deemed morally objectionable, inhuman, or adverse to the best interest of the country.” His clear and concise statement should be taken very seriously, and it’s a sad summary of how history tends to be repeating itself.
“Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down” is a perfect slab of punk rock that makes the political fight seem a little more manageable, even if it seems it’s at its most hopeless point. It’s a statement of “keep fighting the good fight” and block out the outside noise that may be preventing you from leading your best life.
The back half of the record never loses momentum with the guitar-driven bliss of “Unbreakable,” and the circle pit ready anthem “The Disease.” The best politically-charged punches are thrown on “You Make Me Sick,” as Sane sings, “When I think about you, you make me sick /You’re a maniac, a liar, you’re a piece of shit / A cynical, condescending, hypocrite / Everything you do, you make me, make me sick.” I think it’s safe to say we know who Sane and the rest of the band won’t be voting for come November.
Overall, you would be hard-pressed to find a better punk rock band out in our scene, with their hearts firmly planted as activists, who are willing to fight until the bitter end. By the time you get to “Resistance Frequencies” you are ready to join the band in their quest for stopping the madness, and vote ’em all out at the ballot booth. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s also the only way we can truly “win.”