Take head-thrashing guitar riffs and guttural spasms, drench them in liberalism, swirl them in a massive circle pit, and you will have Anti-Flag’s newest album The General Strike. Like a pack of insatiable hyenas, Anti-Flag tears off society’s fleshy veneer to expose a skeleton of seedy consumerism and capitalistic corruption. Case in point, “I Don’t Wanna,” where they boast, “I don’t wanna wait for a microwaved dinner / I don’t wanna wait for a PS4.” In “Bullshit Opportunist” they pelt the listener with stinging lines like, “No collar crime / Spineless snitch / You can’t see beyond your own eyes.”
While Anti-Flag has produced dissent-rousing albums since 1988, the Occupy movement has added a unique dimension. “Nothing Recedes Like Progress” opens with an Occupy chant from Anti-Flag’s acoustic performance at Wall Street, and later echoes Mario Savio’s free speech oration in front of Sproul Hall in 1964, when comparing the government to a “sick machine.”
The General Strike sacrifices usual biting cynicism for a more uplifting and mobilizing tone, coming across as a pre-protest playlist rather than a soapbox. The trickling squelch of the guitar and violent clash of symbols in “The Ranks of the Masses Rising” create a jolting undercurrent to round the listener in and shock them with the urgent cry, “Get up, get up, your voices are needed / Become the pulse of the revolution!”
Occupy has resurrected Anti-Flag’s anarchy-churning spirit from their previously listless album, The Bright Lights of America. The General Strike will rattle your brain with rapid firing power strums and gravel cries until you are nodding your head in pleasurable submission.