For Fans Of
Propaghandi are a band that’s made it their mission to both thrash harder than anyone you’d care to mention and be the most highly informed and potent deliverers of political truth in the music world. Their back catalogue saw them progress from sophomoric teenage anti-establishment rhetoric to highly detailed and passionate accounts of the nastier side of American political hegemony. It moved from strength to strength as each album delivered subtle turns in direction from double time Fat Wreck Chords style skate punk to Judas Priest worthy thrash metal style.
Their latest offering ‘Failed States’ sees the band build upon their history of sonic evolution and insight in to the true nature of the world. It’s essentially more of the same from the band, but for fans that will be basically a good thing. There’s a variety of minor changes and improvements to their sound though. The vocals for one are more crisp and smooth without losing any of their disgust for the evils of the world. And, the new material has a sense of patience and structure, taking lot more time to create a more atmospheric sound with some chord changes that sit more firmly in the metal/thrash genre than in the punk camp.
There’s no stopping the band’s propensity to tackle the darker political and humanitarian situations in the world. The album shares the name of a work by famed scholar and political commentator Noam Chomsky who has clearly been a big influence on the group’s thinking for sometime. A good thing most would argue, Chomsky being frequently described as the most important intellectual in recent history and a truth teller on an epic scale. In the first world, we’re luckily sheltered from much of the tragedy and misery that afflicts the greater proportion of the human population and it’s refreshing to hear an honest and insightful reaction to these kind of problems in place of either complacency or impotent unconstructive angst. There are few bands, let alone artists, of any kind who have managed to make a dent in the problems of the dominant world order to the extent that Propaghandi have done.
The songs carry familiar ultra tight drumming with the usual flawless drum rolls and energetic double time, single kick beats, flowing in unison with the melodic tech riffs and flourishes. The guitar is mostly steady riffing with pauses for highly technical lines and the occasional epically fast guitar solo that briefly punches a whole in the space-time continuum. The musicianship and cultural relevance of the album reminds us all why they have stayed such a widely popular and important band.
Simply put, it’s a blast to watch some down to earth champions of good, thrash their way into the culture of our society with a set of powerful, well written and highly listenable songs. The album carries the tradition of the band with plenty of intensity and solid ideas in the song writing and the lyrics. And, while not covering much new ground musically is a seriously good listen.
1. Note to Self
2. Failed States
3. Devil’s Creek
4. Rattan Cane
5. Hadron Collision
6. Status Update
7. Cognitive Suicide
8. Things I Like
9. Unscripted Moment
10. Dark Matters
11. Lotus Gait
12. Duplicate Keys Icaro (An Interim Report)