Not since Rage Against The Machine has there been a band with a more urgent, crucial message. In fact, Tom Morello of RATM and Audioslave had these exact words of praise for the band: “Anti-Flag are the most important emerging band in America. Uncompromising, ferocious, and absolutely right. In desperate times like these, the world needs a band like Anti-Flag to set shit straight.”
It is extremely rare for members of the US Senate to be featured in two consecutive issues of Newsweek â€“ but Anti-Flag has. During the tumultuous presidential election of 2004, many acts entered the political arena but few matched Anti-Flag’s heartfelt connection with their fans and coverage in the mainstream political press. As a testament, the band registered more than 10,000 voters during their 2004 Warped Tour run.
They helped ignite a new audience on the “Rock Against Bush Tour;” appearing with Michael Moore, Gloria Steinem, and Congressman Jim McDermott. They also launched their own counter-recruitment organization, Military Free Zone; forging countless rallies and making countless TV appearances, as well as publishing widely read op-ed pieces.
It was in some Pittsburgh basement in the mid-90s that Anti-Flag was formed by long-time friends Justin Sane and Pat Thetic. They managed to make music as desperate and gritty as their hometown â€“ music inspired by earlier agitators and pioneers from diverse musical backgrounds like The Clash and Woody Guthrie.
As a burgeoning band they paid their dues with self-released 7"s and packed shows in dingy squats. Eventually the labels caught on, and thus began their rise up the punk rock ranks and growth in popularity. In the years between their impromptu shows in abandoned buildings and their stadium gigs with Green Day, Anti-Flag remained true to their fans with a head spinning tour schedule and a catalog of potent punk releases.
Their previous full-lengths â€“ Underground Network (2001) and Terror State (2003) â€“ were released by the gold standard of indie-punk labels, Fat Wreck Chords. Combined, the records have sold over 300,000 units worldwide. The band’s DIY mentality and dedication to the punk scene brought about their own widely-distributed record label, A-F Records. The label is home to several other underground activist bands as well as some Anti-Flag releases.
Since this is their first album since the 2004 Presidential debacle, Anti-Flag has amassed a lot to say. So, this time around theyâ€™ve enlisted the help of RCA Records, but in true Anti-Flag fashion, the band insisted For Blood and Empire still be done their way. They approached Rick Rubin protÃ©gÃ© Dave Schiffman (System of a Down, Thrice, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Audioslave), to co-produce with them. With Schiffman by their side, the bandâ€™s messages are sounding bigger and more intense than ever.
Feel free to call it a concept album: For Blood and Empire revolves around an unnerving neo-conservative think tank called the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). The names of the founding members of PNAC read like a diabolical cabal of American elite â€“ Dick Cheney, Lewis Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, Steve Forbes and others. It seems apparent that PNAC calls for an American-dominated corporate world, achieved through military expansion. (Enter www.newamericancentury.org at your own risk). This and more is covered in For Blood and Empireâ€™s liner notes penned by top-selling authors, a genocide survivor, activists, and others.
Fans will be proud of their Anti-Flag, and new converts will rejoice: For Blood and Empire is the sound of built-up frustration and fury, the sound of a promising new youth movement unafraid of a good fight. The strongest message Anti-Flag sends us is found in the bandâ€™s name itself â€“ It doesnâ€™t matter what flag you are flying, we are all one people and this is all one struggle.
Dave Romano â€“ email@example.com