Band: Anti-Flag

Album: The General Strike

Label: SideOneDummy

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

Anti-Flag is a band with a message, but that message has always been marred by a simplistically straightforward approach that annoys more than educates. It’s not the message but the way that Anti-Flag has delivered it that annoys. It never comes across as an examination of ideas or a different look at what we already know; it is rather a simplistic form of preaching. And regularly appearing on stages like those of Warped Tour, Anti-Flag is usually preaching to the choir.

The point being, full disclosure, I’ve always felt that there are a lot of bands trying to get out the same type of messages as Anti-Flag, but with more tact, actual creativity and better musicianship. And none of that changes on the band’s eighth full-length, The General Strike.

The General Strike offers 13 new tracks featuring the sound Anti-Flag fans have come to love, an aggressive and energetic yet woefully simplistic punk style complete with “whoa oh ohs,” catchy hooks and gang chants to keep the kids singing along. But if you asked me to pick one after listening to this album somewhere around 10 times, I’d have a hard time finding a truly standout track other than, maybe, “Turn a Blind Eye,” and that one only because it ever-so-briefly teased me into thinking  I might have switched to listening to a Briggs album.

Fans of the band will undoubtedly find plenty to love here, including some admittedly smooth bass lines, but for those in my position, this isn’t the Anti-Flag album that’s going to change minds. It’s still painfully obvious, still incredibly predictable and quite preachy. It’s quintessential Anti-Flag, for better or worse.

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Pads & Panels received a digital download of the album courtesy of the label for review purposes.