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.