Strike Anywhere

Iron Front EP

Written by: PP on 29/09/2009 18:17:48

While we're eagerly waiting for Richmond melodic hardcore heroes Strike Anywhere to release their fourth album "Iron Front", slated to be a return to form after the slight slump of 2006's "Dead FM", their new label Bridge 9 is issuing a teaser/taster EP carrying the same title probably for the purpose of generating some hype for the release. If that was indeed the goal of this release, which features two tracks from the album as well as two other new tracks, then mission accomplished. Because if "Dead FM" sounded too polished and tame compared to the band's earlier, classic output, then the songs here are like taking a trip back to 2003's "Exit English", a raw melodic hardcore record characterized by Thomas Barnett's explosive yells and infectious hooks.

EP opener "Failed State" already displays a return to the rawer, harsher production values of the older Strike Anywhere releases. Not only are the gang shouts fierce and loud, but the guitars are nicely rough around the edges, returning some of the ringing melody to the band's sound that was missing on "Dead FM". Barnett's passionate screaming is convincing enough to remind the listener of the glory days of songs like "To The World", but it's first during the high-octane "Hand Of Glory" where the band's trademark d-beat fueled raw energy feels like a return to form. The contrast between Barnett's fiery screaming and his melodic vocals is very good here. I guess these two tracks are meant to foreshadow a great release, but unless the band is saving the best for the actual album (which I hope they're doing), I don't see "Iron Front" contesting well against "Change Is A Sound" even if it surpasses "Dead FM".

At the same time, the two tracks that won't be on the album are perhaps better than the two that actually will be, which is something I find slightly puzzling about this release. "Twilight's Last Gleaming" sees the band race through a highly melodic and energetic sound, featuring a distinct chorus that's both explosive and yet easily accessible, and "Orphan Age" begins with just the type of emotionally charged eruptive scream that initially made Strike Anywhere one of the flagships of the genre, before continuing on precisely the same type of sound that you'll remember from "Exit English", and partly, "Change Is A Sound". If these are the types of songs Strike Anywhere can afford to not include on their album, then we're gearing up for a release contending for the top spots of this year's punk 'best of' charts.

Download: Twilight's Last Gleaming
For the fans of: Rise Against, Propagandhi, No Trigger
Listen: Myspace

Release date 27.08.2009
Bridge 9

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