Review: Anti-Flag – 20/20 Vision

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Powerful

Anti-Flag take politically charged punk to a new level with 20/20 Vision.

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Political punks Anti-Flag are starting the new decade off with a bang and a brand new album with their latest release, 20/20 Vision.  It’s their first release since 2017’s American Attraction, and what is perhaps more relevant, marks their second release since the election of Donald Trump in 2016.  While other bands are taking a step back from politics in order to escape the chaos of the world, Anti-Flag refuse to shy away from sharing their opinions through their music.  20/20 Vision takes us back to the hardcore punk movement that took over the US in the early 90s – angry music that expresses discomfort with current political instability.

What’s refreshing about this album is that Anti-Flag reject the trend of hiding opinions behind metaphors to keep lyrics from offending people or sparking criticism.  The album opens with heavy guitars blending with clips of the US President’s more overtly racist speeches – a powerful way to denounce American politics and to stand by the original values of the band themselves, and of course, the punk genre as a whole.  While American Attraction was divisive among listeners for its pop-punk sound, 20/20 Vision is a triumphant return to an older sound – riffs are heavier than ever and frontman vocalist Justin Sane’s vocals are nothing short of pure punk perfection.

‘Hate Conquers All’ boldly begins the album, and its high energy rarely wavers throughout the album.  Although 20/20 Vision is a comparatively short album, it has its fair share of highlights – you can imagine ‘A Nation Sleeps’, ‘The Disease’ and ‘It Went Off Like a Bomb’ each become anthems of Anti-Flag’s live shows.  The only track the starts to lag behind the others is ‘Unbreakable’ – although it has the same authentic alternative sound as the rest, the lyrics don’t quite reach the same standard as on the rest of the album.

20/20 Vision establishes Anti-Flag as experts of their genre – this is not a punk band that elitists could accuse of selling out.  The album proves that they continue to use their musical platform as a means of calling out social injustices.  They’ve said themselves that 20/20 Vision is a statement against ‘racist, islamaphobic, homophobic, transphobic, and bigoted’ policies that exist in America.  And this is not an empty statement – their activism has spanned throughout their entire career.  So if you’re looking for a musical outlet for your frustrations, Anti-Flag have just what you need.

Anti-Flag’s 20/20 Vision will be released 17th January 2020 via Universal Music Operations.

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Records Editor 2019/2020. Second year French and Spanish student. Always going through some kind of music-based phase, frequently crying about The Cure.

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