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January 21, 2005

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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

PUBLICATION
The Red Season

AUTHOR
Joel Parker

DIRECT LINK TO ARTICLE
http://www.theredseason.com/