Strike Anywhere

Change Is A Sound

Written by: PP on 12/08/2009 03:06:17

When Strike Anywhere unleashed their debut album "Change Is A Sound" to the unsuspecting punk community, little did people know that eight years later the band would be considered to be the underground version of Bad Religion, or more recently Rise Against, a raw, uncompromising voice of the punk rock community loud and clear, yet so pissed off and angry. Vocalist Thomas Barnett's previous band Inquisition had just called it quits about a year and a half before the release of this album, but I say thank fuck for that, because this enabled a bunch of young, pissed off guys to get together and write what is today considered a genre classic.

If this is your first acquaintance with Strike Anywhere, then you should immediately hop onto Smartpunk or Interpunk and purchase a copy of this record. No but really, melodic hardcore doesn't get any catchier than the 30 minutes and 11 tracks featured here, so even if you're not normally a fan of the genre: this is as good as it gets, there's a good chance you'll find something you'll like here. Especially if you're into Rise Against, as the bright and layered guitar lines are what Rise Against's later material is heavily leaning on, although Strike Anywhere is way faster and punker than those records.

Barnett's harsh vocal delivery is entirely unique and original. He variates between a raw, decipherable super-melodic yell and a screechy scream, usually perfectly placed to stress the importance of his lyrics, a tell tale of his passion for the message and the music. And although the record contains a boatload of genre classics like "Timebomb Generation", "Refusal", "Chalkline" and "Detonation", all of which beautifully merge together poppy melody with raw punk attitude and hardcore musicianship, the central element, and the one reason why Strike Anywhere are regarded so highly, is found in Barnett's amazing lyricism which often challenges Greg Graffin with its brutal honesty about the state of the society. Consider this gem from "Laughter In A Police State", for instance: "you screamed in my face but I waited quietly, religious leaders, politicians, and the lies you say, from the economic poisons of the enemy, to the bottom of the bottle where the poor man stay" - or how about this anti-police brutality piece from "Sunset On 32nd Street": "we could rise / black and white / unbound and make them pay / for every tear / for every fear / defend our yesterdays". Few lyricists are able to so effectively pack a socially/politically charged message in such a small space.

When you throw in the fact that Strike Anywhere have enough urgency and intensity to share with an entire genre to the above description, the band is dangerously close to only appealing to an insignificantly small group of people even within the genre. But miraculously enough, "Change Is A Sound" is also extremely accessible, featuring a retarded amount of mass sing alongs and ridiculously infectious riffs which you'll remember for years in the future. I was first introduced to the band in 2004 through a friend, through this album, and I still haven't forgotten just how good it feels to sing "AMERICAN JUSTICE, AMERICAN DREAM, is this what the other half means?" in 2009. Essential listening for any music fan.


Download: Laughter In A Police State, Refusal, Sunset On 32nd Street
For the fans of: Rise Against, Bad Religion, No Trigger, Propagandhi
Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.08.2001
Jade Tree

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