It’s the 13th studio album from the pogoing Pittsburgh punk rockers. The band has gone as far as stating that this record is something of a concept album! Cripes do we run for the hills as punk goes prog, will it unfold as something of a Punk Floyd record? Fuck I hope not. However, it does say that the band’s staple ingredients are front and center so maybe relax and not worry and just drop the needle.

To accompany the first Anti Flag Concept album they have roped in a whole bunch of artists to mix it up on this record from esse Leach of Killswitch Engage, Shane Told of Silverstein, Tim McIlrath of Rise Against & Brian Baker of Bad Religion, Ashrita Kumar of Pinkshift, Campaino of Die Toten Hosen, Tré Burt and Stacey Dee of Bad Cop/Bad Cop. ITs fair to say the band has cast it’s net far and wide and pulled in an impressive and diverse band of brothers and sisters to help them out.

You get eased in gently with the guitar and vocal of ‘Sold Everything’ before the drums pound in with the huge gang vocals. Dare I say it the elephant in the room called Green Day who probably made this kinda record possible and short and sweet it’s a decent opener.

Turn up the heaviness as ‘Modern Meta Medicine’ twists and turns its way through the speakers reaching the chorus with a thumping modern sound. Quite intense leading to some classic Anti Flag in the shape of the chant along ‘Laugh. Cry. Smile. Die’ Not quite a eat em and smile kinda lyrical journey but then this is Anti Flag.

‘The Fight Of Our Lives’ begins with a vocal over a buzzing guitar riff as we head to layered vocals that give proceedings a huge sound and a gloss that you often get from Anti Flag Theirs is a slick operation and nothing is left to improvisation and often comes across as sterile and clinical. ‘Imperialism’ featuring Ashrita Kumar from Pinkshift is the highlight so far thumping out the attitude ten to the dozen on what is a really decent song. Plenty of snot as the punk rock is amped up.

Campaino joins the band on the anthemic ‘Victory Or Death (We Gave Em Hell)’ before ‘The Hazardous’ sees the band head out without a collaborator on board with a thumping song. The next few songs sound intense and flow well together with ‘Work & Struggle’ being another high point on the record.’Nvrevr’ is down with the kids in the title as the song is fired off at a rapid pace with Stacey Dee of Bad Cop/Bad Cop lending a hand.

Hell were on the final cut ‘Only In My Head’, wow, that was quick. Maybe the sign of a good record that it kinda flew by and I wanted to dive straight back in for another round. I would say after having it on rotation with Iggy Pop for the last week I’m enjoying both and different songs are leaning out of the speakers and grabbing me on different plays so I’m hoping this album and its concepts keep giving up secrets here and there with every play and it turns out to be a grower not a shower.

I feel good after listening to the new Anti Flag as a concept it works well and the guests add different flavours to a very distinct style and sound that the band has. The fact that Anti Flag are taking chances means that I’m taking chances and sticking with this record, hoping that by the end of 2023 I’m still spinning it because I’ve always had time for these Pitsburg punks because they’ve always had time for the underdog and the underclass. They’ve rallied against corrupt Governments and injustices with a consistent and quality product that has provided me with a lot of fantastic music over the last few decades. On this evidence, it seems all is right in the Anti-Flag camp and the fire still burns maybe even stronger than ever. It’s never too late to get on board with Anti Flag.

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Author: Dom Daley