Has there ever been a better time for a new Anti-Flag record? In a world turned upside down by threats of nuclear war and the disturbing rise in far-right nationalism, many have found themselves wishing for a simpler time, when equality and anti-racism didn't feel like a controversial stance.
Anti-Flag's tenth album, American Fall, seems to leap right out at you, upfront about its message and sincere in its convictions. Comparisons to Green Day's American Idiot might be unwanted by some punk rockers, but they do feel warranted. On album highlight "Racists," Justin Sane spits the kind of venom that Anti-Flag's fellows in Rise Against lost years ago. It's powerful stuff, unafraid to hit where it matters rather than swiping at easy targets. There's more to follow on cuts like "The Criminals" and the hardcore blast of "Liar." It's depressing how relevant the subject matter is, but Anti-Flag are in their element here, raging at an ugly, unfair world.
The album isn't necessarily a departure — this is the same old Anti-Flag, and there isn't much to distinguish American Fall from 2015's American Spring — but that's not a bad thing. The band still know how to write a good "whoa-oh," and their message has been sharpened by outside factors, making it seem more vital than ever. Anti-Flag haven't changed; the world has. (Spinefarm)