Cease Fires

Written by: PP on 26/11/2015 23:02:52

There's certainly a lot happening in the Anti-Flag camp. Between their current European tour and a live acoustic album, they're also gearing to release "Cease Fires" in December, a compilation album containing tracks from the 2013-2014 EP series "20 Years Of Hell". It was originally released on a subscription basis, featuring six split EPs between Anti-Flag and a number of highly touted underground punk bands. The series primarily included re-recorded and re-imagined material from throughout their back catalogue, many of them acoustic versions of the originals or simply much better quality recordings of the old material. Here, we get all of that packaged on one disc, topped off with two unreleased b-sides, both of which feel like signature Anti-Flag songs from start to finish.

The first one of these is album opener "Coward In My Veins". That this track is a b-side and not a part of one of their albums is basically criminal, considering it's far better than the majority of songs on "American Spring" or "The General Strike". While "The New Jim Crow" - the other unreleased song - is good as well given its upbeat and melodic expression that's as classic Anti-Flag as it comes, it's more of a b-side in comparison. Many of the songs that follow are acoustic versions of very old tracks. "Consumer Song" and "Bring Out Your Dead" are definitely interesting versions of "A New Kind Of Army" and "Underground Network" originals, whereas the equally acoustic "Mumia's Song" features updated lyrics referring to Chelsea Manning and Pussy Riot to make the song feel even more relevant in 2015 than it does in its 2002 form.

"Wake Up" is a good reminder of just how great of an album "The Terror State" is, although the new version is heavier and even more aggressive than the original. "Kill The Rich" and "The WTO Kills Farmers" are pretty much Anti-Flag classics, and "The Ink And The Quill (Be Afraid") is one of the best modern-era songs from "The Bright Lights Of America", especially in the much faster form as it is played here. Admittedly, the differences to the originals might not be radical for many of the non-acoustic re-recordings, so they are perhaps more suited for the diehard must own it all types than the casual Anti-Flag fan. Still, there is enough differentiation together with the new tracks to make this worthwhile for most fans of the band in the end. Plus, the acoustic tracks shine a spotlight on the piercing socio-political lyricism of the band that sometimes gets drowned underneath all that energy on studio records, so it's interesting to see them presented in a different light nonetheless. Check it out if you're a fan, but "Cease Fires" is probably not the best entry point if you're looking for a place to start with Anti-Flag.


Download: Coward In My Veins, Wake Up, The Ink And The Quill (Be Afraid)
For the fans of: The Unseen, Smoke Or Fire, The Casualties, Rise Against
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.12.2015
A-F Records

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