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Their System Doesn'T Work for You
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Anti-Flag is an American punk rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, formed in 1988. The band is well known for political activism, focusing on anti-war activism, anti-imperialism, class struggle, human rights, and various sociopolitical sentiments. The line-up includes singer/guitarist Justin Sane and drummer Pat Thetic, who founded the band; later members are guitarist Chris Head, and singer/bassist Chris Barker (#2) who replaced Jamie "Cock" Towns, who had replaced original bassist Andy Flag in 1997 following his departure one year prior. Anti-Flag is known also for their advocacy of progressive political action groups such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International. Most recently, the band has declared solidarity with the global Occupy Together movement.
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The first time I heard the title song off of this one, it was the live recording from Mobilize, and while it may be unfair to compare Anti-Flag's studio songs to their live songs, had I only have had the studio release of the title song to go on, I probably would not have liked it as much as I do.
Top to bottom, I would say that the engineering of this CD sounds like it was done by a 10 year old, but that would be an insult to 10 year olds the world over. The only things that stop me from rating this CD only one star, are the songs "I Can't Stand Being with You," "Their System Doesn't Work for You," "20 Years in Hell," and "Betty Sue is Dead." The above songs I mentioned draw from the 70's Punk feel that made Die For the Government the classic it is (by sounding like 70's Punk, but not sounding like Iggy Pop, the Sex Pistols, MC5, etc.), but I put enough emphasis on what makes this CD 2-star material, so you have been warned... But you can do like me, and get it to complete your collection, and then play a few tracks off of it from time-to-time.
However, after managing to listen to the whole thing by sheer forced faith in Anti-Flag, this CD has left me very disheartened. Justin's vocals on the first 9 tracks could make someone's ears bleed, and meanwhile the intrumentation on the last 10 tracks is terrible.
The CD's biggest fault is engineering. Though it does have a nice "live" feel, the overall sound quality is more painful to listen to. For example, "Can't Stand Being with You" and "There System Doesn't Work for You" would be excellent songs, but Justin's vocals lack reverb and polish, and the recordings are hard to listen to.
Overall, the album shows the promise of Anti-Flag that they would later go on to fulfill, and the songs are great, but the severe lack of polish and shine coupled with some extremely painful recording make this album only worthwhile to die hard fans.