Anti-Flag have always had a very energetic set that connects and involves the audience, and in some cases they become the audience by leaving the stage to carry on at the same rapid pace which is no mean feat. This album Vol 1 tries to encompass the whole Anti Flag experience that you come up against live, I’m not sure if it achieves this in its entirety but there are times where you know just what Anti Flag are about on stage.
We are encourage to have a “Good God Dam Time” before smashing into The Press Corpse where a relentless pursuit of the end of the song sends lyrics hurling out the speakers towards you like a hail of bullets. This is a sound that ignites bodies to clamber to the front of the stage, climbing over each other’s sweaty backs with the release of sheer adrenalin. There is very little let up in the pace of the album throughout, with the band definitely not going through the motions here. We are straight into Fabled World for track 2, a little less frantic but no less powerful in its supply of guitar solos and short sharp riffs over a pounding beat, it’s held together with a hooked in chorus that gets you singing along.
We shift down a gear to a more pop punk feel with Born to Die which has that early Green Day guitar attached to a higher pitched vocal, short sharp and not really what you would say was a typical Anti Flag track. Then we are instantly pushed back to familiar territory with the next few tracks coming thick and fast, all with a throat splitting vocal that would destroy the average singer for a month. Tearing Everyone Down is the beginning of the end of the album, where Anti Flag let loose the big harmonies mixing the power with the melody. There is an immediate guitar intro that sets the tone before the track flows along like a runaway train with a concert on board, the guitar solo mid way is intricate but not over indulgent. Second to last is a Brandenburg Gates what I consider is there finest hour on record, well 4.41 mins on this album but you know what I mean. The band are joined by a Homeless choir on stage for this track, although it’s not that evident on the album but there is plenty of crowd participation here drawing the song to a close to a large cheer. We are taken to the end with a track from the first album Die for the Government, a raucous spitting track that pushes the chorus into your face with a vengeance while the band play like there life depends on it before bowing out.
I have never been a big fan of live albums as very few capture the atmosphere and energy from the gig, they are often patchy and put together like a sound jigsaw puzzle sometimes more detrimental to bands than an advert for them. This album has moments where they do pull it off but very few, the power and energy the band create is at times distorted to an extent that you would not think it’s from an established band like Anti Flag. The same can be said for the vocals where at times they over reach releasing a painful sounding yell, I think that even reading a nursery rhyme to a kid the singer would shout at these levels. The highlights of this album could probably fit on to an EP which would sound great, but don’t judge Anti Flag on a whole live album go see them then in the flesh you won’t be disappointed with the finished article.