Pointing Fingers at Faces

Catchy and upbeat, Todd Ransick from Far Cry’s first solo record finds him experimenting with a subtler, but nonetheless still aggressive approach. The CD includes four extra tracks, two of which are acoustic.

C. Todd Ransick: Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Ross Stevenson: Guitar (2, 3)
Steve Dohring: Drums
Recorded September – November 1990
Released November 1991
Recorded at Downtown Recorders, MA
Engineered & Mixed by Joe Cuneo
Mastered at Future Disc by Eddie Schreyer, CA
Graphics by Kurt Sayenga
Cover Art by Crispin Thomson
Photography by Tim Owen

1. Awaiting Seasons
2. Eidolon
3. Corners
4. Taken
5. Driving Myself to Sleep
6. The Wolf

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

I’ve heard most of these songs before and if you’re a Strike Anywhere fan, then I’m sure you have, too. Most of these songs have been previously recorded and released on older seven inches but they have been compiled and put on a CD and here they are today. It’s Strike Anywhere?°¦I don’t really know what else to say to make you want to buy the CD?°¦ It’s Strike Anywhere! It’s America’s favorite political punk band exposing a slightly raw and much older style of their music. Don’t misunderstand me; they have lost no melodic quality in releasing this CD. If you have not heard Strike Anywhere, I would describe their sound as punk rock with a hint of pop. They are one of the best anthem bands out there and you will always find yourself singing along to their irresistibly melodic chorus (you might punch the air a few times, too). By all means, buy this CD and listen to it?°¦a lot! For fans of Rise Against, Good Riddance.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

Richmond, VA’s Strike Anywhere has been making a name for themselves in fast and furious ways for the past 5 years. They have criss-crossed the country countless times bringing their politically charged message to the masses. Choosing to embrace the spirit of bands like Black Flag and Fugazi over the pop punk goodness of Blink 182 and New Found Glory, Strike Anywhere is a band that makes you feel like every second of every song could be their last breath on this earth.

The band is quick to point out that these songs do not “stem from contractual obligations or consist of songs that weren’t good enough to be on a ?°»real’ album.” The album is made up of 2 songs from a long out of print 7” originally released on Fat Wreck and the Chorus of One EP as well as some outtakes. The band ends To Live in Discontent with 3 cover songs (by Gorilla Biscuits, Cock Sparrer, and Dag Nasty), but that’s not to say that everything in between isn’t worthwhile as well.

The album’s shining moment comes right off the bat with “Asleep”. This is from the Fat Wreck 7” and is the first song the band ever wrote. It’s fast and furious and I could easily be convinced that the original band died at the end of its recording session. There’s something so incredibly urgent sounding about it that I almost feel bad that I’m still sitting at my computer when it finishes. It makes you feel like you should be doing something. The band comes close to recapturing the glory with “Two Fuses” and “Notes on Pulling Down the Sky” but they never quite make it to the level that “Asleep” ascends to. All the songs here are musically relentless and pretty raw. I’m impressed that the band has left the raw fury intact when they could have easily gone in and “touched” the songs up to make them more palatable.

Until I heard these songs I wouldn’t have called myself a Strike Anywhere fan. They certainly have my attention now. I think that the feelings of distrust, inequality, and anger that these songs capture so well are feelings that almost anyone can relate to on their own level. If you are like me then their politics may be a bit hard to get past but this certainly reminds us that we are much more alike than we are different.

Chorus Of One- Strike Anywhere

Consider this punk’s political refractory period: After a year or so of a high-profile leftist agenda pushed by the Punk Voter and championed by the unlikeliest of spokesmen – NOFX – many punk rockers’ first taste of the body politic is one of failure. Despite the tours, the inflammatory album titles, the street teams, the CNN and Time coverage and the chart success of American Idiot, George W. Bush is back in the White House.

To say it’s frustrating for those parties heavily invested into the left – say, Fat Mike and Jello Biafra – is unnecessary. Its effects on thousands of first-time voters, however, may be less easy to pin down: Can youthful idealism and optimism withstand the reality check Bush’s slim majority win deals out? Did the election of 2004 sow the seeds of apathy in a generation of liberal, progressives and other miscellaneous lefties? Was the youth vote wasted once and for all in November?

If you answered “yes,” it’s time for a dose of Strike Anywhere. Before you hang up your bleeding-heart ideology and bury your idealist dreams once and for all, a spin of the band’s latest, To Live in Discontent (Jade Tree) might be beneficial. The Richmond, Va. punks round up their B-sides, rarities and other odds’n’ends for the career-spanning collection, showing that punk’s political activism stretches far beyond the realms of mere electoral politics. While the act (singer Thomas Barnett, guitarists Matt Sherwood and Matt Smith, bassist Garth Petrie and Eric Kane) is no stranger to punk’s activist streak, To Live in Discontent may serve to remind a lot of younger fans that losing the battle for the Oval Office doesn’t mean the left has lost the war.

“I think a lot of the people our music speaks to are already focused on that and are looking for a source of motivation, or they feel like they’re doing something when they’re really not,” Sherwood explains. “Sometimes I feel that way too, because we spend so much time being a band and talking about this stuff, we don’t really have a lot of time to be active in our community where it seems like real work gets done.

“I’m all marched out. I want to go participate in a city council where I can walk up and talk to the mayor and he’ll actually listen to me, which is amazing that, along with however many thousand of other people, that you can actually have a direction in your community.”

Sherwood and Strike Anywhere deal a double-edged reality check that should be loud enough to wake up punk’s dozing sense of political responsibility. On one hand, it’s nothing but defeatist apathy that’s making youngsters feel as if the November disaster is cause to bury their head in the sand and avoid politics for the rest of their lives. On the other, no amount of well intentioned tours, inflammatory album titles, smart-assed T-shirts or even the casual appropriation of Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore’s ideas is enough. Politics is a hands-on activity, and becoming active in punk culture alone isn’t going to change the world, no matter how enfranchised you feel singing along with Anti-Flag, it’s not enough. Dropping out won’t change the world: You have to step up and take action for yourself.

If that bursts your activist bubble, you haven’t been paying attention. Rather than discouraging anyone from taking part in the political process, it should be inspirational. Instead of the screaming rhetoric of blame and the politics of division, underneath Strike Anywhere’s punk lurks a guardedly optimistic message: Even in the worst political climate change starts with the voice and action of a single person.

“I think that our point of view as a group is to stay hopeful as we discuss politics,” Sherwood says. “Definitely we do spend time on societal and political ills, but I think a major part of what we do is finding a positive personal angle. That’s important for me individually. That’s how I go about my life, searching for personal peace. I think that’s something that we like to address. I don’t really care if it’s fashionable or not.

“I think there are kids in every community, even in the deeply red states, there are people who feel a need to dissent, even if they are doing it very quietly. Kids and older folks come out to shows. When I say kids, I mean like 11 and 12. We have them come out, which is pretty exciting, but I don’t if they’re getting the whole picture that we’re painting, but they do seem to react to loud, fast music. I think kids in those communities are ready to come into a safe environment like our shows and share in these ideas.”

If you’ve never heard a Strike Anywhere album, don’t expect the lightweight politics and sloganeering of Green Day or NOFX’s recent expansion into the world of socially conscious punk. Neither should you expect the incessant finger-pointing and negativity intertwined with leftist rhetoric you’d expect from classic Dead Kennedys or Crass albums. Instead, it finds a middle ground, using The Clash’s “anger can be power” mantra to channel discontent into a force that isn’t about laying blame as much as dealing with the problem. “Incendiary” urges listeners not to just complain about the world situation, but to step into the political arena to make a change. “Asleep,” To Live in Discontent’s most fiery rager doesn’t aim to bring down the regime, but rather looks to lend moral support to anyone fighting the good fight. While “Two Fuses” is virulently aware of soulless plastic heart of mainstream America, it’s more about escaping its grasp than sending it off in a tsunami of Molotov cocktails.

You don’t have to look too far to see Strike Anywhere put the power of positivity into action. Where many of its revolutionary brothers in arms are ready to cast the dumbed-down ideology of recent pop-punk forays into the political arena as anything from feeble fluff to treacherous turncoats, the upswing in light politics doesn’t ruffle Sherwood and his band mates’ feathers. In fact, he thinks just the opposite: Rather than berating Green Day or any of political punk’s other Johnny-come-latelies, he embraces them – even if they’re worlds away from what his band does.

“I think that it’s pretty remarkable that it’s on the charts now. That’s pretty amazing,” Sherwood gushes of Green Day’s latest, Bush-baiting album. “Last time I checked, the election’s over. That’s pretty cool that they can stay up there. That’s pretty cool that they can rock it with dumbed-down politics. You should never say that one should not try, but I think it’s very difficult to address complex political issues in a three-dimensional way in the space of a three- or four-minute song.

“In the case of Green Day songs, where they’re using a pretty standard pop structure, they pretty much introduce an idea, call it a name and they call it a name a whole lot because that’s the part that repeats, and then leave with a funny idea at the end. That’s not really how we do it. I don’t think that’s bad. I’m sure they’re doing it exactly the way they want to. I think it’s good that people are still willing to hate on the president a little bit! “I don’t know if I’d call it natural, necessarily, but it makes sense,” he continues. “I don’t think for most bands that was a carefully planned out strategy or something mysterious. We’re not upset because they’re invading our territory. We’re down with whoever wants to have a discussion about our society. We’re part of it, whether we like it or not. I guess we could leave, which is always an attractive option. It’s kind of like selling out. It’s funny, when we discuss moving to the European Union seriously in our band, everyone talks about how it’s like selling out. ?°»Let’s move to Australia! It’s awesome! But, we can’t leave our people behind.’ That’s sort of sad.”

After all, if Strike Anywhere packed its bags and headed for points east, who’d be there to lead the charge? There’s a lot at stake between now and the next election. With a little luck, Strike Anywhere can help keep the dissent bubbling loud enough to

“He’s a guy who’s in his last term who’s poised to do all kinds of terrible shit,” Sherwood says. “No one can really say much about it. Congress is Republican. So is the Executive branch. We’re going to get our judicial nominees that are insane, I’m sure and the future looks pretty bleak right now. It’s nice that people are keeping their head in it and not just looking the other way and waiting for this guy to go away, which is what I want to do.”

Thank goodness he and the rest of Strike Anywhere aren’t giving in to that urge.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

With the release of To Live in Discontent, Strike Anywhere treat their fans to an album full of B-sides, covers, previously unreleased songs and tracks from their out of print EP, Chorus Of One. Covers on the album include the Cock Sparrer’s "Where Are They Now?", Dag Nasty’s "Values Here," and the Gorilla Biscuits’ "Two Sides," which was recorded live.

Hailing from Richmond, the band had the benefit of being exposed to the harDCore sound that existed just up I-95 as well as influences from UK punk bands such as Cock Sparrer given the "Oi! Oi! Oi!" yells on "Cassandratic Equation."

The track "Sunspotting" reportedly comes from the band’s 1999 demo tape. Though the production isn’t the greatest, the song does provide an early look at the band’s sound and their penchant for writing lyrics that challenge the conventions of the federal government and other authorities while urging listeners to wake up and act.

The melodic opening track, "Antidote," gives way to a blistering delivery of lyrics by Thomas Barnett as he ponders a plan of attack: "Will we bide our time afraid? Will we wait or overthrow?"

"Earthbound" clocks in at just over one minute in length, but it manages to pack in enough anger to make a song three times as long. Though likely written prior to the current war in Iraq, the lyrics "Death and killing are in control while a leader is smiling, no thoughts for the people," could be relevant for past and present conflicts alike.

Strike Anywhere has a strong following and its long-time fans will enjoy hearing the non-studio album releases on To Live in Discontent. However, for the casual fan, it may be best to start with one of their proper releases.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

Everyone knows of that one band that everyone talks about – but you have no idea who they are. So when they come up in conversation you just nod and smile, pretending you know what’s going on until you slowly fade yourself out of the conversation or change the topic before they find out you have no idea who they are. For me, Strike Anywhere were one of those bands. Whenever anyone talked about them I just nodded and smiled and pretended to know what I’m talking about when in fact I had only really heard one song from them (which was the music video on a compilation). So when it was revealed that Strike Anywhere were set to release a new CD, I figured it’s about time I got to actually know the band.

Before I mislead you anymore, let me tell you that To Live In Discontent is NOT a new album by Strike Anywhere. It is a B-side collection. The first two tracks were previously released as the “Bread or Revolution” seven inch on Fat Wreck Chords. Tracks 3 through 8 were previously released as “Chorus of One” CD EP on Red Leader Records, and vinyl on No Idea. Track 9 was from Exit English while track 10 was from their demo. The last three songs are cover songs: Two Sides by Gorilla Biscuits, Values Here by Dag Nasty and Where Are They Now? by Cock Sparrer.

So really, this "new" CD gives you a great feel off the band throughout their entire career; and it is safe to say that they have stayed incredibly consistent. Fast paced hardcore punk rock anthems laced with sociopolitical lyrics all across this release, making it fun and energizing. The lyrics come flying at you somewhat reminiscent of Kevin Seconds and you soon find yourself shouting along with the infectious and furious choruses. They are highly political, without coming off trite and forced. It is an album full of fist pumping anthems with a select few that are able to really blow you away. All in all, it adds up for one solid release of B-sides.

So now when people start talking about Strike Anywhere I’ll finally be able to pitch in a few opinions here and there rather then just nod and smile like the ignorant fool I was. But I should probably look into getting a copy of Exit English if I really want to join the conversation because although To Live In Discontent gives you a good background of the band, there’s still more to hear from them, and Exit English was their break through release. It is a great release for any fan or person wanting to hear more from these Richmond, Virginia boys nonetheless.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

To Live In Discontent is a collection of b-sides, covers, outtakes, and demos that are as potent and fantastic as their previous full-length Exit English.

Yeah, we all know these types of releases usually end up less than great, unless you are a diehard fan, but in this case, To Live In Discontent is the exception. Politically fuelled, Strike Anywhere’s energetic driving rhythms are anything but colorless. Assertive, yet melodic and heartfelt, Richmond’s Strike Anywhere’s socially conscience anthems, inner-city observations, and strong-willed lyrics elevate them above the rest.

Five tracks are from their Chorus Of One EP, along with a handful of demos, outtakes, rarities, and there’s three high-energized covers rounding out the release: Gorilla Biscuits’ "Two Sides," Dag Nasty’s "Values Here," and Cock Sparrer’s "Where Are They Now?"

If you’re already a fan, especially of Exit English, then To Live In Discontent won’t disappoint. Even though this release is a collection of old and unreleased material, it’s an album good enough for ears unfamiliar with Strike Anywhere to check out (but Exit English is also highly recommended). Simply put, To Live In Discontent is chock-full of great melodic punk-rock that contains substance, and a sense of compassion for humanity with a strong longing to alleviate social distress while pointing out the culprits. That, my brothers and sisters, is an underlying theme that I support full-heartedly.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

I don’t think I’m fit to write a review of Strike Anywhere. I just not neutral anymore. I love this band too much; there’s no way I can avoid gushing over how great they sound, even when the subject matter at hand is a collection of early material. This is the stuff that should be "embarrassing beginnings". I should just say something about how this album serves only as a tool to show you how far they’ve come, how good their new material is. Well, this assortment of miscellany does make the two full-length albums that are on the market look great, no question about that; "To Live in Discontent" just shows that even in infancy, Strike Anywhere was elite.

The main attraction among these thirteen tracks is a re-release of the "Chorus of One" six-song EP, a harbinger of the brilliant "Change is a Sound" album to come. Also included are the two songs that comprised the band’s 7" contribution to the "Fat Club" Fat Wreck Chords held a few years back. One of these tracks, "Antidote", is a contender for best Strike Anywhere song ever, one of their melodic masterpieces. Rounding it off is a long-lost "Exit English" track, an obscure demo song, and three covers. The final song, a cover of Cock Sparrer’s "Where Are They Now?" sounds fantastic.

Whether you’re meeting Strike Anywhere for the first time, or completing your collection thus-far, "To Live In Discontent" is a mandatory purchase from the band I consider the best punk band around today.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

“To Live in Discontent” is a collection of Strike Anywhere’s out of print EP and other 7 inch work – when the disc starts off with “Asleep”, one can hear the intense sounds of the band even if the mastering and recording is not necessarily up to “Exit English”-standards. Something that is immediately recognizable is the cohesion of sound that Strike Anywhere has created over the course of their post-Inquisition careers; the only thing that has really changed is the quality of the songwriting and presentation. Don’t get me wrong, a track like “Antidote” has the catchy aural hooks of Thomas but still seems like a logical precursor to the music that was to follow. In fact, the tracks marking the beginning of the “Chorus of One” EP shows a better recording than the prior tracks as well as a more distinct set of instrumental parts, and “Question the Answer” shows an intensity that is unrivaled on any Strike Anywhere disc past or present. The main charge that was levied against Strike Anywhere on their “Exit English” disc was the fact that everything was too smooth and recorded too well. “Question the Answers” shows a side of Strike Anywhere that is simultaneously raw and intense while still being solidly recorded and professional.

Cracking barely one minute, a track like “Earthbound” cuts away all of the bullshit to make the essentiall Strike Anywhere track – a chorus of multiple people, an iconic set of guitar lines, and some of the most meaningful screaming ever. The slower tempoes of “Notes On Pulling The Sky Down” make the track almost untenable – it literally seems as if someone put this recording on the wrong speed, even with the faster bridges at the ending of the track. “Two Fuses”, a track that found its way to the cutting room floor during the “Exit English” sessions, really has the sound of the rest of the “Exit English” disc but lacks in the presence that the majority of the rest of the songs on the disc have. “To Live In Discontent” ends with a trio of covers, of which “Two Sides” smacks of pure Strike Anywhere. In fact, that may be the strongest part of “To Live In Discontent” – even though some of the arrangements are a little odd (Dag Nasty’s “Values Here”), Strike Anywhere re-creates each of the tracks in their own sound. For those fans of Strike Anywhere, this is essential. For new fans, this creates SA’s entire discography in petit.

Top Tracks: Where Are They Now, Earthbound

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

I don’t know what year it was, but I can clearly remember the Semtex collective gathering behind a little merch table on the Ieper Fest where we hang out each year. We were carrying a small distro with a selection of different kinds of zines and fanzines. We had this very political newsletter we distributed, which had all this info on squats and anarchistic collectives worldwide. No one ever bought a copy of it and that day we sold one copy to a dready dude. He was quite interested in most of the stuff we were carrying with us and raved about Semtex zine. Cool. What a surprise when I saw him jumping on stage with his band Strike Anywhere just half an hour later. It charmed me to check out their first full length on Jade Tree called "Change At Sound" that, until today, still stands as my favorite Strike Anywhere record ever.

Their previous full "Exit English" just didn’t grab me that much as the "Change At Sound" record did. For now I really had to check out this brand new full length. "To Live In Discontent" is a celebration for Strike Anywhere’s five years of existence in this miserable world. While factories are polluting, presidents are destroying and bombs are falling, Strike Anywhere is one of those bands that will keep their fist in the air with a politically charged mix of melodic punkrock and hardcore. I dig them and to notice that this release collects some of their earlier material was definitely a positive note in my scrapbook. This cd actually includes a rare 7" that was released on Fat Wreck and some older hard to find songs, totally re-recorded. "Cassandratic Equation" is one of those songs that has been scratching the needle of my record player multiple times. I just love the positive pc energy coming out of this, the anthem filled singalongs and the melodic turnout of the whole song. Other good ones are "Two Sides" and "Chorus Of One". It’s cool that I can now just pop them into my cd player without having to worry about switching the sides of a vinyl record.

In the end this record won’t win it from their previous full lengths. But it’s a good record if you’re a Strike Anywhere lover. It has more of the rare stuff on it completely re-recorded and even some exclusively recorded cover songs of Gorilla Biscuits, Dag Nasty and Cock Sparrer. It is politically correct to get your hands on this one. For the rusty Strike Anywhere fans and for people into melodic charged punk/hardcore. Good enough to keep the fight going out there.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

Strike Anywhere is arguably one of the most important bands in punk/hardcore in recent years. Despite the mildly lackluster Exit English album, Chorus Of One on No Idea/Red Leader and Change Is A Sound on Jade Tree remain incredibly solid releases. Before I had ever even heard them, I saw them opening for the Bouncing Souls about a year and a half ago and was truly blown away by the energy/chemistry/etc. that they had on stage (blah, blah, blah).

I was kind of mystified by this compilation of rarities and B-sides, especially since it includes every song from Chorus Of One, which isn’t even out of print. It seemed like kind of a stretch to release this, especially considering they had to record three covers to make this reach full-album length. Politics aside though, this is a good record.

If you’ve heard Strike Anywhere’s older songs before they appeared here, you’ll know how rough many of them sound. Thomas’ vocals sounded tinny and pubescent and the recording in general kind of sucked. Many of the songs here very much leap out of the stereo, however. Take the third song, "Chorus Of One." As the opening salvo of "TO LIVE IN DISCONTENT" sounded, I went, "Daaaaamn boi." The mixing still isn’t great per se, as the drums have way too much treble usually and the vocals on "Sunspotting" are pretty soft, but it’s still a huge improvement. Some of the other songs – see "Notes on Pulling the Sky Down" and "Earthbound" – sound virtually the same as on the original release, where they actually sounded pretty decent. The songs themselves are very fucking solid. Personal favorites are "Notes On Pulling The Sky Down," "Cassandratic Equation," "Earthbound," "Asleep," and "Two Fuses." "Two Fuses" was actually an outtake from the Exit English sessions, which is surprising, as it’s infinitely better than 3/4 of the songs on that CD.

The covers are…covers. "Two Sides" by the Gorilla Biscuits, "Values Here" by Dag Nasty, and "Where Are They Now" by Cocksparrer round off the last three tracks on the album. Strike Anywhere does them well. I’ve never gotten into Cocksparrer, but the other two are solid, slightly sped up but note-for-note covers of the originals, Strike Anywhere-style.

If you’ve never heard Strike Anywhere, I recommend picking up the Change Is A Sound album before anything else. But if you’re already into them and haven’t heard their older stuff, you’ll dig this. Apart from the covers and "Two Fuses," there are really no surprises here (most of the older versions of these songs have been available on major filesharing networks for years), but these revamped versions sound very nice and this is overall a very solid CD.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

Politics have been the forefront of punk rock since the early 80’s when punk and hardcore had strong followings in not only America, but in other countries as well. It is rare to find a decent punk band that actually has an intriguing and positive message behind their music, as opposed to the emotional based mainstream punk genre. Strike Anywhere is one of the few bands, along with the likes of Rise Against and Pennywise, that have gained considerable popularity while still striving to educate the mindless masses who take their government for granted. To Live In Discontent is a collection of some of the rarest songs by the band, as well as a few outtakes from their previous outing, Exit English.

This album has new and old elements of Strike Anywhere that old fans will enjoy, as well as new fans who are just learning about the band. Songs like “Asleep” and “Antidote” carry the melodic elements of modern day mainstream punk rock, as well as the political angst found so commonly in underground punk communities. Although the album starts off with a few radio friendly songs, it quickly jumps right into the Strike Anywhere that has been receiving critical acclaim as one of the greatest punk bands to ever exist. “Question The Answer” sets up the rest of the album and ultimately leaves the listener in total awe.

A few standout tracks on the album include the fast-paced, angry “Sunspotting” and the frenetically eccentric “Cassandratic Equation,” which features a blend of what Strike Anywhere was and has become, musically, over the years. Their political messages are still quite common in the blistering punk anthems “Earthbound” and “Incendiary.” Regardless of the fact that this album is filled with rarities, b-sides, and covers, it really can stand on its own as a new album from the band. To Live In Discontent is an album that blends old and new to create a vehement piece of musical history that ties on to the heartstrings of the politically oppressed and rebellious youth of America.

Tracklisting:
Asleep
Antidote
Chorus Of One
Question The Answer
Incendiary
Earthbound
Notes On Pulling The Sky Down
Cassandratic Equation
Two Fuses
Sunspotting
Two Sides (Live)
Values Here
Where Are They Now?

Strike Anywhere [I]Exit English[/I] Review

"Upon listening to Exit English, the thing that sticks out most to long time fans is the rather
dramatic slowing down of their sound. This is a well worn path by myriad hardcore bands before
them but it always stings a little when you hear a band start to sound "mature". You want a
hardcore band to be a hardcore band otherwise you’d put a different record on but before you
write these guys off as a flash in the pan hear me out.

It’s clear on this album and their debut record that these guys are talented musicians. As in the
past, the songs on here are tight as hell but what’s clear on this record is that they can write
compelling melodic riffs with the best of them. They also employ a slightly different tack than a lot
of melodic hardcore bands. Rather than try to add melody to the speedier parts they tend to keep
them fairly distinct. So you’ll hear the blazing double time riffs segue into a slower, more melodic
part or they’ll start a song with a slower tempo only to bust out the four to the floor hardcore. This
is an interesting approach as it keeps a clearer tie to their previous work but allows them to
expand the songs with new melodic elements.

The other area they’ve also added more melody is in the vocals department. They don’t pull this
off quite as well because this guy is really a screamer at heart which is probably why he joined a
hardcore band to begin with. At slower speeds he’s really missing the passion and anger that
turn many of their faster songs from good to great. This is probably the biggest drawback of this
record as opposed to their last record but it’s not a show stopper in my book.

While I prefer their speedier cuts, I can’t deny that some of the more melodic parts are not
extremely effective. You can see this most clearly on their opening combo cut "Amplify"/"Blaze",
and later songs like "Aluminum Union" and "Extinguish". The melodic parts ultimately made
these better songs than they would have been had they relied solely on their previous
songwriting approach. So while I do mourn the loss of their undiluted hardcore attack I have to
admit that these set of songs are more unique, better written and will probably outshine their
debut as time goes on.

I’m assuming this more accessible approach has made this band blacklisted by some people in
the hardcore scene but I think these guys have the talent and songwriting chops to continue
successfully down this path."

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

For those acquainted with the last six or so years of hardcore and punk rock music, Strike Anywhere is a moniker that likely rings with familiarity. From the band’s humble beginnings to their current status as a renowned, if not borderline classic, hardcore/punk band, Strike Anywhere has attracted listeners on a variety of levels. The band has crafted weighty, memorable songs, maintained a respectable tour schedule, and evolved as a group, which is evident on To Live In Discontent.

Strike Anywhere excels in playing hardcore/punk rock. The band knows how to make aggressive music have an accessible, melodic edge. Vocalist Thomas Barnett can naturally communicate socio-political themes with an honest and personal tone. There’s a positive sense of urgency to the band’s music, which is difficult to ignore. And, in doing these things and creating these sounds, the band doesn’t go overboard or suffer from unnecessary frills and common clichés.

To Live In Discontent is comprised of material spanning Strike Anywhere’s career. The focus of it is on the band’s debut EP, Chorus of One, which was initially released in 2001. Although years have passed since its inception, the angst and anger sounds relevant, and the ample recording quality makes it entirely listenable. These six songs alone establish To Live In Discontent as a worthwhile listen. The EP’s opening and closing songs, "Chorus of One" and "Cassandratic Equation," respectively, are a couple of Strike Anywhere’s most memorable cuts, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t stuck them on repeat on occasion.

Luckily, most of the 13 songs avoid being just filler. The first two songs are from a limited 7" release, and "Asleep" is a fiery, gang vocal-heavy song that works as an ideal opener. "Two Fuses" was an outtake from the Exit English recording session and, while its mid-paced approach would’ve felt out of place on the album, it has some catchy choruses and infectious melodies. An original demo song is included (and is surprisingly good), and the album closes with covers of Gorilla Biscuits, Dag Nasty and Cock Sparrer songs.

To Live In Discontent is something to look into for fans who don’t have Strike Anywhere’s debut EP, Chorus of One. The record is especially good through the first nine songs, but the extras tacked on at the end are, at the least, fun. Strike Anywhere continues to do things right; even the often cluttered collection album.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

To Live In Discontent is a collection of b-sides, covers, outtakes, and demos that are as potent and fantastic as their previous full-length Exit English.

Yeah, we all know these types of releases usually end up less than great, unless you are a diehard fan, but in this case, To Live In Discontent is the exception. Politically fuelled, Strike Anywhere’s energetic driving rhythms are anything but colorless. Assertive, yet melodic and heartfelt, Richmond’s Strike Anywhere’s socially conscience anthems, inner-city observations, and strong-willed lyrics elevate them above the rest.

Five tracks are from their Chorus Of One EP, along with a handful of demos, outtakes, rarities, and there’s three high-energized covers rounding out the release: Gorilla Biscuits’ "Two Sides," Dag Nasty’s "Values Here," and Cock Sparrer’s "Where Are They Now?"

If you’re already a fan, especially of Exit English, then To Live In Discontent won’t disappoint. Even though this release is a collection of old and unreleased material, it’s an album good enough for ears unfamiliar with Strike Anywhere to check out (but Exit English is also highly recommended). Simply put, To Live In Discontent is chock-full of great melodic punk-rock that contains substance, and a sense of compassion for humanity with a strong longing to alleviate social distress while pointing out the culprits. That, my brothers and sisters, is an underlying theme that I support full-heartedly.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

You know how there is always that one band that you’ve heard so much about yet never have had the chance to hear any of their albums? Well, this is the case with myself and Strike Anywhere. Their 2003 release Exit English was talked about on all levels of the punk community, but I never had the chance to hear this disc. Now, armed with a collection of B-sides, rarities, and cover songs, Strike Anywhere have released To Live In Discontent. The album contains thirteen tracks that features songs from a rare 7-inch release, the rare Chorus Of One EP, as well as tracks left over from the Exit English recording sessions.

From the very first second of the opening song "Asleep", it is evident that Strike Anywhere play straight-up punk rock music. It’s fast, aggressive, and has a defined message that finds them dealing with politics and social themes. During "Antidote", the band drives the song with thick bass lines and fast drumming. The chorus is catchy with sing-a-long chanting as well as a dose of a few "whooa’s". One of the best tracks on the disc comes in the form of "Chorus Of One". Beginning with the vocalist shouting ‘to live in discontent/anti-establishment’, the song quickly takes form with catchy guitar riffs and a fast-paced approach before ending at just over two-minutes long. This kind of structure is what you’ll hear throughout most of the remaining tracks. However, they change things up a bit during the song "Notes On Pulling The Sky Down". It starts with an acoustic riff and an overall melodic feel that eventually makes way for the higher-energy music. Later in the track they throw in another melodic part that eventually builds up, making for one of the better songs on the disc.

While Exit English will probably always be remembered as Strike Anywhere’s breakthrough album, To Live in Discontent can offer something of a breakthrough for new fans. By including most of their older material, any listener can get an idea of how they progressed leading up to their past album. The addition of covers of songs by Gorilla Biscuts, Dog Nasty, and Cock Sparrer also gives you an idea of some of their influences. Altogether, To Live in Discontent offers a look into the past for new fans and would also be a wise pick-up for any longtime fans.

Standout Tracks:
"Chorus Of One"
"Cassandratic Equation"
"Notes On Pulling The Sky Down"

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

There are many people who say that punk is dead.

And judging from the constant stream of repetitive bands that can hardly deviate from their predecessor’s sound, that statement would be correct. However, anyone who says that true punk is dead has apparently never listened to the Richmond-based quartet Strike Anywhere. After releasing two of the more solidly consistent releases, the boys are bringing their anger full circle with a B-Sides/compilation of sorts: To Live In Discontent.

The album opens with a heavy two-and-a-half minute dose of rebellion in “Asleep.” The song has the traditional Strike Anywhere sound. Thomas’s scratchy vocals echo against the rest of the band in a way that no other melodic hardcore band can do as well. The song speeds through at a blistering pace, sometimes treading into almost pop-ish guitars before seamlessly melding back into an unequivocal force of hardcore intensity. This formula is best seen in “Chorus of One” where the entire song builds up into a climax of a pogo beat of sorts.

Other songs like “Earthbound” remind you of the heart behind this band. It is a tad over one minute long but packs more emotion and passion into the song than most bands can put into an entire album. Likewise, “Cassandratic Equation” picks up the speed a notch and berates you for the better part of three minutes with the anti-establishment feel that is all too familiar.

Thomas’s vocal range even is tested from his scratchy yell in “Two Fuses” and for the most part, he doesn’t really hit the high notes too well. However, this really isn’t a bad thing as it adds a hint of desperation to the song as he even handles most of the "whoa"s by his lonesome self. It is one of the slower songs on the album, which isn’t really saying too much, but it shows a nice diversification of what is still a familiar sound for them.

With ten hits of new/old material as well as three covers (“Where Are They Now” is especially catchy), Strike Anywhere has done another good job with To Live In Discontent. The album doesn’t really tread any new ground for them but it really isn’t any new material either, so that is alright.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

You’re not just getting old. Punk’s getting worse. Your days acting like an idiot in the pit are long gone, your job keeps you from rocking out until the wee hours very often and you’re too concerned about the possibility of long-term hearing loss to stand directly in front of house speakers. Getting long in the tooth isn’t the only reason punk isn’t quite the thrill it used to be: Wave after wave of crappy three-chord rock has lowered the style’s bar so drastically that darn near anyone with a distortion pedal and a few Green Day riffs can get a contract.

Some pessimists might argue the opposite, but Strike Anywhere’s To Live in Discontent ought to show everyone that it’s still possible to get worked up over punk rock like you did years ago. In the sea of chunky bile that’s the punk scene, To Live in Discontent is the life raft you’ve been waiting for as you desperately tread water. Oddly, this B-sides and rarities roundup is Strike Anywhere’s finest moment, showing a band that’s rapped up in the focused aggression and the self-righteous fury that made us fall in love with punk in the first place.

Strike Anywhere has never been terribly imaginative in developing its sound, and that’s no different on the tracks, recorded between 1999 and 2004, that To Live in Discontent collects. Owing a massive debt to Good Riddance’s attempts to blur the lines between old-style hardcore and So-Cal punk – as well as a few nods toward hometown Richmond buddies Avail – Strike anywhere is a one-handed man juggling melody, searing guitars and classic hardcore beats. While it’s a formula many can (and have) followed, Strike Anywhere does it with the sort of unflaggable, unmistakable and unfakeable sort of passion that makes this collection a winner.

For Strike Anywhere, politics isn’t just a token fad. It, along with the band’s leftist regard for human decency, is the fuel to the band’s searing fire. “Asleep” opens the album with the cannon-shot dynamics of manic skate-punk beats and fiery guitar work that matches Good Riddance’s best moments as singer Thomas Barnett signals a back-to-action call to arms for punk’s idealist revolutionaries. “Incendinary” champions a love for hardcore’s primordial years as well as today’s So-Cal warriors and a straight-from-the-underground revolutionaries anthem. “Cassandratic Equation,” “Chorus of One” and “Where Are They Now?” all squeeze a surprising amount of sing-along melodies into the band’s speed-freak ferocity.

Your lack of interest in punk rock has nothing to do with turning 17, 21, 29, 35 or whatever. It’s because, frankly, the style’s in a heck of a slump. They may not make ’em like they used to very often, but Strike Anywhere’s latest finally achieves the passion, the melodies and the ire that the band reached for so long.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

When a band puts out a disc of B-Sides and “rare” tracks, you squint your eyes and clench your teeth, because it usually only means one thing – an album filled with lackluster songs that didn’t make the cut for any of the LPs, and usually for good reason. Strike Anywhere’s latest disc, To Live In Discontent is an album filled with B-Sides and rarities, but unlike other albums of the same nature, the songs are all good. Each song on To Live in Discontent could have found a happy and worthy home on any of the previous Strike Anywhere albums, but beggars can’t be choosers – so we are just grateful that these songs have been released for our listening pleasure.

To Live in Discontent starts off in usual Strike Anywhere fashion with the ferocious and energetic, “Asleep.” One, of the many, standout songs, “Chorus of One,” from the 2000 EP of the same name, breaks open as a call to arms with the lyrics, “To live in discontent / Anti-establishment / Since the day we were born / If we just look inside, a thousand rebellions sleep.” The potent “Earthbound,” is a testament to Strike Anywhere’s ability and heart as they pack the entire minute and nine seconds with raw emotion and energy. “Cassandratic Equation,” sounds more like an instant classic than a B-Side with a chorus of, “Underground America, 1999 / But it could be any year, anywhere,” followed by a string of “whoas” capable of igniting the fire in any working class hero. The song also infuses the type of guitar sounds usually found in Fugazi, another influential East Coast band.

The last three tracks, all of which are covers, prove that Strike Anywhere can take classics and, in the words of American Idol’s, Simon, “make it their own.” With traces of Fugazi in Strike Anywhere’s original songs, it’s no coincidence that they cover “Values Here,” by Dag Nasty, a band with strong ties to Fugazi and Minor Threat. “Where Are They Now,” originally by Cock Sparrer comes off as melodic, well rehearsed, and arguably better then the brash original. “Two Sides,” by Gorilla Biscuits also provides a new freshness to an older hardcore classic.

Although Thomas, the lead vocalist of Strike Anywhere, may never win American Idol (nor would he want to), as he can’t manage to hit any of the high notes in “Two Fuses,” he can probably win your little anti-establishment, melodic-hardcore heart regardless. Even though Strike Anywhere may continue “to live in discontent,” their disc should leave listeners, content to the nth degree.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

Knowing Strike Anywhere have new stuff out is always good news to me. In my opinion, they are one of the few new names (even though they’ve been around for 4 years by then) of the punk rock circuit that deserve the “punk” label. Their songs bring positive messages, invitation to political and social awareness and at the same time they stay true and coherent to their beliefs.And let’s not forget that they play punk rock the way it should be: Tight, fast, honest and with few melodies attached.
Usually, I’m pretty dissident with releases containing B-Sides, rarities and already released tracks, such as this one. I rarely find such material as interesting as the one contained in real albums with brand new tracks. Luckily, this is not the case here cause in “ To live in Discontent” there’s plenty of interesting material, offering a complete focus on the band’s discography up to now.
It’s actually cool these guys decided to include the “Chorus of One” ep, came out in 2001 on a minor label. All the songs got remastered and remixed and sound even better than the original version. For the rest, the other unreleased tracks here contained are a perfect example of the blazing sound this Richmond’s quintet brings to life. Besides the anthemic choruses, Thomas Barnett’s soaring vocals are the one he has gotten us used to, the guitars sound aggressive and so do the galloping drums. The cover of “Two Sides” from the Gorilla Biscuits sounds real nice and so does the Cock Sparrer one. If you’re a fan of this great band then you don’t want to miss this out. If you’re not familiar with SA instead, “To Live in discontent” offers you the chance to listen to punk rock as it should be played in 2005.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

Everyone knows of that one band that everyone talks about – but you have no idea who they are. So when they come up in conversation you just nod and smile, pretending you know what’s going on until you slowly fade yourself out of the conversation or change the topic before they find out you have no idea who they are. For me, Strike Anywhere were one of those bands. Whenever anyone talked about them I just nodded and smiled and pretended to know what I’m talking about when in fact I had only really heard one song from them (which was the music video on a compilation). So when it was revealed that Strike Anywhere were set to release a new CD, I figured it’s about time I got to actually know the band.

Before I mislead you anymore, let me tell you that To Live In Discontent is NOT a new album by Strike Anywhere. It is a B-side collection. The first two tracks were previously released as the “Bread or Revolution” seven inch on Fat Wreck Chords. Tracks 3 through 8 were previously released as “Chorus of One” CD EP on Red Leader Records, and vinyl on No Idea. Track 9 was from Exit English while track 10 was from their demo. The last three songs are cover songs: Two Sides by Gorilla Biscuits, Values Here by Dag Nasty and Where Are They Now? by Cock Sparrer.

So really, this "new" CD gives you a great feel off the band throughout their entire career; and it is safe to say that they have stayed incredibly consistent. Fast paced hardcore punk rock anthems laced with sociopolitical lyrics all across this release, making it fun and energizing. The lyrics come flying at you somewhat reminiscent of Kevin Seconds and you soon find yourself shouting along with the infectious and furious choruses. They are highly political, without coming off trite and forced. It is an album full of fist pumping anthems with a select few that are able to really blow you away. All in all, it adds up for one solid release of B-sides.

So now when people start talking about Strike Anywhere I’ll finally be able to pitch in a few opinions here and there rather then just nod and smile like the ignorant fool I was. But I should probably look into getting a copy of Exit English if I really want to join the conversation because although To Live In Discontent gives you a good background of the band, there’s still more to hear from them, and Exit English was their break through release. It is a great release for any fan or person wanting to hear more from these Richmond, Virginia boys nonetheless.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

You know you’ve ‘made’ it when record labels start to want to release odds and sods albums. The fact that ‘To Live In Discontent’ is just as good as any other SA record is testament to how fantatsic this band really is. This record spans 13-tracks written between 1999 and 2004, taking in three covers and tracks from out of print records and songs that didn’t quite make the cut of the other albums. Not that you could tell mind – there’s hardly a lack of quality on show here, the songs just continue to prove how good a band Strike Anywhere actually is.

‘Asleep’ and ‘Antidote’, which originally feature on a Fat Wreck Chords released 7" back in 2000, yet are real call-to-arms anthems. There’s a ferocious energy throughout this record, as there is on other SA albums, in particular ‘Two Fuses’, a track which narrowly missed out on appearing on ‘Exit English’. The choice of covers are interesting too – the Dag Nasty song possibly comes off best, with Cocksparrer and Gorilla Biscuits songs also covered. The album flows well throughout and, unlike many records which are thrown together from different eras, it doesn’t lose any synchronisation or suffer from the difference in recording or production.

‘To Live In Discontent’ continues to show that Strike Anywhere are a criminally underated band. I haven’t been into them for long, but this is yet another release that suggests many more people should check them out. The songs from the ‘Chorus Of One’ EP may be more raw, maybe even more emotional (to use a cliche), but are every bit as good as the band that recorded ‘Exit English’. Check this record out, it’s maybe not the best starting point, but it should be in your collection regardless.

www.strikeanywhere.org
Jade Tree

Our Rating:
Your Rating:  (Average of 4 reviews)

Other reviewed releases by Strike Anywhere:
Exit English

If you like this album you could try:
A.F.I. – The Art Of Drowning
Lawrence Arms – Apathy and Exhaustion

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

Are you tired of pop-punk bands with screamers running around masquerading as hardcore? Well, in case you haven’t heard, Richmond, VA’s Strike Anywhere has been making actual melodic hardcore punk for five years, taking notes from Kid Dynamite and fellow Richmond natives Avail to create some of the fieriest, yet most sincere punk rock in the nation. Their latest release, To Live in Discontent, is a rarities compilation of early vinyl recordings and their first EP, the long out of print Chorus of One, and a few covers for good measure.

“THIS IS AN ANCHOR FOR MY ANGER!” bellows vocalist Thomas Barnett in the opening track, “Asleep,” a rallying cry of song and good start for the album. Next up is “Antidote,” another rare track, but opens and closes with more restraint and musicality than most of the songs on the album. After that, the album revs up again plowing straight ahead into the six songs from Chorus of One, which are the highlights of the album. While only six songs, they illustrate just what Strike Anywhere is capable of; full on hardcore in the aptly titled “Incendiary” and “Chorus of One,” as well as more variant numbers like “Question the Answer” and “Notes on Pulling the Sky Down.” After that the album slides into more B-side material. “Two Fuses” is well done song, but it especially generic. The three covers at the end of the CD blend well with the rest of the album, mainly because Gorilla Biscuits, Dag Nasty, and Cocksparrer are obvious influences on the band. The Gorilla Biscuits cover “Two Sides” is the superior cover of the three and is the most similar to Strike Anywhere at their best. The other two covers don’t come across as well, but the CD can always be stopped before then anyways. While they may not add much, they don’t detract much from the album either.

Since this is a compilation of outtakes and older material, this album should be viewed a little differently. To some, it will sound “done before,” but that’s only because it has been done before?°¦by Strike Anywhere and bands who were influenced by or share their roots. To Live in Discontent does contain its share of ordinary hardcore jams, but it makes up for them with gems like “Question the Answer.” All things considered, if you’re a die hard fan of Strike Anywhere or good socio-political punk you should pick this up. If you’re into more modest rock, you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you’re thinking of buying the latest girl pants pop-core album, maybe you should do yourself a favor and buy this or better yet “Change is a Sound” and try some real hardcore.

For Fans of: Rise Against, Kid Dynamite, Lifetime, Avail

Tracklisting:

1. Asleep
2. Antidote
3. Chorus Of One
4. Questionn The Answer
5. Incendiary
6. Earthbound
7. Notes On Pulling The Sky Down
8. Cassandratic Equation
9. Two Fuses
10. Sunspotting
11. Two Sides
12. Values Here
13. Where Are They Now

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

To Live in Discontent collects all of the odds and ends that Strike Anywhere have accumulated over their six-or-so year existence, including the best existing versions of the songs that appeared on their Chorus of One EP, their single for the Fat Wreck Chords singles club, their 1999 demo CDR and a couple of other rare tracks, some of which haven’t been released at all. I was actually at Strike Anywhere’s first show, and it’s weird to think that this band has gone on long enough to be one of the most well-known and well-loved bands in the underground and that they’ve actually reached the stage where their truly merit this kind of archival release. In a scene where, more often than not, my favorite bands break up before I ever get to see them, it’s been amazing watching Strike Anywhere grow over the years.

In fact, while I thought the songs collected here were pretty much the best hardcore tunes written in the past 10-15 years when they originally came out, the thing that strikes me most about To Live in Discontent on the first listen is how much better Strike Anywhere have gotten since the very early recordings collected here. Sure, "Chorus of One" and "Cassandratic Equation" still have an undeniable power, spontenaeity and youthful exuberance, but these records are nowhere near the unstoppable beast that the band would record with Exit English.

In terms of the previously-released material that appears here, more than likely you already have this stuff, as Strike Anywhere had free mp3 downloads of all of these songs on their web site until fairly recently. However, if you haven’t heard the recorded versions, they’re the songs you saw the people going completely nuts to when the band plays live. Right from the beginning, these guys knew how to write a hardcore anthem that had the crew choruses and the "oi oi oi’s" in all the right places, and I have a feeling that young bands are going to be ripping into these songs to close their sets long after Strike Anywhere has called it a day.

The real reason to pick up To Live in Discontent, though, is the four unreleased tracks that are packed away toward the end of the disc. The first is "Two Fuses," an outtake from Exit English; while it’s a solid enough song, you can definitely tell how it got to the cutting-room floor as it’s not only inherently weaker than any of the songs released on Exit English, it just doesn’t fit with the general vibe of that record. It’s also just an awkward song that, for some reason or another, just doesn’t seem to work.

The other three unreleased tracks are all covers. Their version of Gorilla Biscuits’ "Two Sides" isn’t so much a Strike Anywhere track as Matt and Thomas from SA jamming with some of the guys from New Mexican Disaster Squad, and while I’m definitely a fan of NMDS the playing on that track is a step down from the way Strike Anywhere just seem to naturally gel as a band. Secondly, SA cover Dag Nasty’s "Values Here," a song I’ve seen them do numerous times live. Unlike the other two covers on To Live in Discontent, neither of which I think quite come off, "Values Here" is perfect for Strike Anywhere; they don’t really change anything, but the twin guitar melody and bellicose vocal lines are perfectly suited to the band’s style. The album closes with a cover of Cock Sparrer’s "Where Are They Now?" that finds Strike Anywhere unusually tepid and unsure of themselves, probably a result of the extremely slow (for them) tempo. Still, it’s a fun enough version and definitely not lackluster enough to warrant skipping.

The only real regrets I have about To Live in Discontent are that they didn’t include the 99 demo in its entirety (which would have involved several songs appearing twice) since I always really liked the sound of Thomas’s vocals on that recording and that they didn’t record (or at least chose not to release) the Four Walls Falling cover that I saw them play live several times very early on. Even more than Avail (whose name always gets dropped in Strike Anywhere reviews), Four Walls Falling really provided the blueprint for Strike Anywhere’s sound, and a well-recorded and well-performed cover version could have moved a lot of kids to check out the amazing Culture Shock LP and maybe even spur Four Walls to do another reunion show. However, To Live in Discontent is probably a better record the way it is, and there’s no way you could ever talk about shortcomings when this thing is actually blaring out of your stereo.

Strike Anywhere [I]To Live In Discontent[/I] Review

Every genre of music has it’s handful of legendary bands that stick out as pioneers and icons in their inclusive style. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of a genre or not, there are sometimes musicians that can traverse the boundaries of musical preference and reach the ears of many. Most everyone has heard of the Richmond, Virginia phenomenon Strike Anywhere in some form or another, and whether or not they can relate to their music, most people can appreciate them as being one of the most powerful outfits in punk for years. After their numerous successful records cluttered with anthems of politically charged beauty, the fine people at Jade Tree Records deemed it worthy to re-release some of the rare material and older stuff that might not have been attainable by today’s class of fans otherwise. This upcoming album entitled “To Live In Discontent” is a perfect retrospective on Strike Anywhere and a great opportunity for old and new fans alike to reminisce on this classic band.

Throughout the thirteen tracks on the cd you’ve got a span of four years worth of recording and pieces of seven previous releases. One thing that initially caught my eye was that they’ve gotten every song off the lesser known, yet wildely popular “Chorus Of One” EP that was released on Red Leader Records back in 2001. That alone includes six of the tracks on this record and can in itself be a good merit of obtaining this release. I had personally only heard a little bit of that EP before, but now that it’s been redone and re-released it does the music so much justice I wish I had gotten more familiar with it in prior years. The production on this cd is really great and provides the exact sound and feel you would come to expect from anything associated with Strike Anywhere.

I’ve always been a huge fan of the songwriting skills this band has and the fact that they’ve never been afraid to voice their opinions on anything. Reliving their history over the past few years and being reminded exactly how musically talented they are and just how melodically beautiful and powerful they’ve always been is certainly a nice refreshing listening experience. Every track on the album was chosen pretty carefully and only the best material with the catchiest riffs, most upbeat rhythms and classic lyrical content was selected. What amazes me about the musical lineage of these guys is that when you look back and listen to their progression as a band over the years they’ve stayed very consistent with their original goals and sound (which is rare for bands today to do), yet they’ve never become stagnate or boring at any point in their career. Truly, Strike Anywhere have earned their right to be in today’s punk/hardcore community.

I can’t speak for everyone as to whether or not this album will be enjoyable or worthy of buying, but what I can say is that Strike Anywhere are one of those bands that have done nothing but give fans reasons to love their music and respect them as musicians. “To Live In Discontent” is an extremely passionate biography of the accomplishments and abilities this band has reached since their inception and only goes to show that true punk artists still exist and are capable of creating quality music. Writing material that is fueled by a love for music and the cause of affecting fans who listen has become a thing of the past with most genres including the majority of “punk” groups. That is not even remotely the case with Strike Anywhere as can be evidently seen in their latest release. “To Live In Discontent” is hands down an amazing album and a must have for anyone who previously loved this group or can appreciate any of the above statements.