The Terror State

Written by: PP on 31/05/2012 05:08:07

Few records open with a line as unforgettable as "The Terror State" by Anti-Flag, their fifth and arguably their best album to date. "Turncoat...killer...liar...thief!" has become the chosen anthem for all rebellious anti-government, anti-American left-wingers since its release, and a benchmark for all political punk rock since its release. That the band then continue with an even better song, the quintessentially Anti-Flag song "Ranknfile" with high-pitch, angry vocals afterwards, only fortifies why "The Terror State" is thought of as the best Anti-Flag album by everyone else but the most hardcore "Die For The Government" / "Mobilize" punk fans. But they're hopeless souls anyway, they'll never understand the near-perfect balance Anti-Flag captured between the melodic, mainstream masses and the fist-pumping 'fuck the government' types on this album.

In a nutshell, "The Terror State" is the ultimate anthemic punk rock album that wasn't released by The Misfits. Pretty much every song has a huge whoah-oah chorus in one way or another, and if it doesn't, then it's too slow to have one, which speaks volumes about the variety Anti-Flag put onto this album as opposed to the standard high-tempo, often reckless speed of their later and earlier albums. You'll have a song like "Postwar Breakout" that slows down the tempo to almost Rise Against-esque balladic moments, while leaving a mid-tempo onslaught like "Power To The Peaceful" serving as the high-energy crowd kickstarter of the album, and "Mind The G.A.T.T." as a slower, more balladic piece.

Looking at its political context at the time (the months following the Iraqi invasion), "The Terror State" is a brutal, piercingly accurate depiction of the political climate in the US, and by extension, the rest of the world, where Anti-Flag prove to be months, if not years ahead the general public in their awareness of the war scenario (which we don't discover until years later, of course). This alone suggests that Anti-Flag are one of the most important political punk bands around, and when you combine it with brilliant, fiercely leftist lyricism like you can kill the protestor (can kill) / you can't kill the protest / you can murder the rebel (murder) / you can't murder the rebellion" on "You Can Kill The Protester, But You Can't Kill The Protest", you know you're dealing with the real deal. People on the outside of the punk rock scene might argue otherwise, but Anti-Flag are a sharp, pointed weapon focused on pointed commentary of the political state of the US, and they've never been more accurate, more piercing than on "The Terror State" where pretty much every song is spot on. Oh, if the masses heard what Anti-Flag had to say and were presented the proof behind their lyrics, there'd be a rebellion in our hands.

But aside from the politics, Anti-Flag also write fantastic punk rock songs that contain the melodies required to create legendary, timeless infamy around them. Just as the best songs by Ramones and Sex Pistols, Anti-Flag's best songs here consist of the required ingredients that make sure that even in 2012, the songs sound fresh and different. Whether it's their rebellious fuck-you-all attitude, the political criticism, or the gang-supported choruses, the fact of the matter is that Anti-Flag have written 13 brilliant songs here that they have not surpassed during their career to date. If you've always found Anti-Flag discography a daunting task to explore, then make sure "The Terror State" is the first album on your list - it is the best and most consistent Anti-Flag album.


Download: Turncoat, Ranknfile, Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.), Mind The G.A.T.T., You Can Kill The Protester But You Can't Kill The Protester
For the fans of: The Unseen, Rise Against, Smoke Or Fire, Star Fucking Hipsters, Propagandhi
Listen: Facebook

Release date 21.10.2003
Fat Wreck Chords

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