20/20 Vision

Written by: PP on 25/10/2020 02:42:58

When the dust settles, "20/20 Vision" could turn out to be the best Anti-Flag album since 2003's "The Terror State". There was some concern during the Obama-era that Anti-Flag was reduced to a token political punk band angry about issues not relevant to most of their audience who were all too happy to woo-hoo along their choruses and jump in circle pits at their energetic shows and that's it. But ever since Donald Trump's election, it feels like the band's message has been revitalized, first on the fantastic "American Fall" in 2017 and even more so here on 12th studio album "20/20 Vision", a clever title playing on hindsight and optimistic future at the same time.

Yet it's not like Anti-Flag's message has changed. They've been warning us about this all along, but it's only now we're seeing the dark shadow of fascism rising around the world enough to relate to it also on a personal level. Here, it's clear the band insists on that message being loud and fucking clear more so than ever before. The resulting album is angry. It is arguably the most vitriolic rage we've heard from Anti-Flag to date, a record that feels like a clenched fist, a riotous, aggressive piece where it truly feels like the band has been at the front-lines fighting against fascism all along and now are sounding the last alarm before it's too late.

The album opener alone is enough to give you chills. "Hate Conquers All" begins with a sample from a Donald Trump rally where he basically suggests roughing up protesters to shut them up in an overt manner. The song is one of the heaviest, rawest, and most jingoistic songs Anti-Flag has written to date, designed to be a statement that this isn't your regular happy-go-lucky sing-along album. No, this is a raw record that captures the violent rage that drives the opposition these days. The production is almost metallic: a far cry from the major label style clean production of "For Blood And Empire" or even the punk-fueled "Mobilize".

But it's not that Anti-Flag has dropped the melodies. "Christian Nationalist" is as brilliant lyrically as it is catchy melodically. "Unbreakable" demands a sing-along, and the hardcore-fueled "The Disease" is bouncy yet allows for a scream along. That said, when's the last time you heard Anti-Flag as razor-sharp as on "A Nation Sleeps"? This raw circle pitter feels like it's about to roll your body down a hill wrapped in barbed wire.

The metallic, heavy production is a first for Anti-Flag and helps distinguish "20/20 Vision" as a unique Anti-Flag album in the last two decades, if not their entire career. It is absolutely the direction they needed to go into to win over (back?) the punk rock crowds and build a new kind of army as they suggested all the back way in 1999. With songs like "20/20", "You Make Me Sick" and "Un-American" alongside the ones mentioned so far, this could be the most vital and timely Anti-Flag album in as long as we can remember. We are witnessing the resurgence and revitalization of our generation's punk rock legends.


Download: Christian Nationalist, Unbreakable, 20/20 Vision, It Went Off Like A Bomb
For the fans of: The Unseen, Smoke Or Fire, Rise Against, The Shell Corporation
Listen: Facebook

Release date 17.01.2020
Spinefarm Records

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