Over the years, I’ve argued with fellow bloggers and friends about the importance of Strike Anywhere’s presence and music for the global DIY scene. Being their fan for nearly two decades, I’ve solely loved each new record they’ve put out. Each new album carried that recognizable appearance of the band but also delivered some improvements along the way. The lyrics covered issues and themes such as police brutality, anti-capitalism, women’s rights, animal rights, globalization, but always left some room for listeners to soak up the knowledge about it. Unfortunately, during some circumstances, Strike Anywhere silenced their activities sometime after the release of Iron Front in 2009.
In 2016, Thomas Barnett has announced that Strike Anywhere works on a brand new album. Four years later, this material will become Nightmares Of The West, their sixth EP recording. This extended play was announced two months ago with singles such as Imperium Of Waste and Dress The Wounds, but the group remained quiet as possible about some more detailed information. Soon after that, Pure Noise announced vinyl pre-orders with July 17th being the release date. Both singles received positive critics from the global punk rock community and the press. Without further ado, let’s jump straight to the material.
Nightmares Of The West comprises of the seven meaningful compositions, entirely characteristic for Strike Anywhere. It seems like the group pays homage to their previous records by following nearly the exact songwriting formula. The extended play commences with Document, marvelous opening composition that floats somewhere between pleasing punk rock harmonizations and compelling melodic hardcore moves. Judging by the lyrics, it seems that Thomas talks about the meaning of the class struggle, twisted by the mass media, but the actual actions justify means, and the proof about those means is right there, among defying crowd. Each freedom fighter is equally substantial in the times of the class struggle, and no one can deny that fact.
The group continues with a bit pacey Dress The Wound, composition that provides even further thoughts about the current political climate in the US. The lyrics cover instruments used to twist and turn the truth in favor of those in power. This particular tune calls out all individuals to resist more than ever because the resistance is not based on voting and reacting over social media. Lead vocals provide in-depth observation about the current situation, while the rest of the band bursts with energy through loads of breaks, brilliant guitar shreds, and even more melodies. The Bells are coming up next, and this particular composition provides more moderate tempos, saturated by the hymnic chants, guitar dualities consisting of four-chord progressions, and pleasing harmonizations. As previous numbers, The Bells also focuses on the current events within the states.
Frontier Glitch talks about how the American Dream is another fabrication made by the government to manipulate the masses, while the corporations are making a profit by leading wars on a worldwide scale. This track is also a statement of the group that they’ll not participate in the secret agenda provided by corporations or government. Strike Anywhere demonstrates some classic maneuvers showcased on their previous recordings, and this composition will suit older fans of the band. Imperium Of Waste questions what leads the public to believe in all the lies provided by the corruptive mass media, the policy of the state, but also questions the lack of logic and common sense of the masses. Once Again, Strike Anywhere leans towards more moderate waters and leaves more space for calmer hymnic melodies. The song possesses a specific vibe that appropriately accommodates the meaningful lyrics. Striking vocals and marvelously sung chants are especially pleasing on this particular song.
The group returns to much melodic hardcore side with the Opener, a more personal number about revealing, understanding, and accepting the events, situations, and circumstances that surround us. Unlike the vast portion of the lyrics, Barnett kept things minimalistic and direct on the Opener. This track possesses a contemporary melodic hardcore vibe that pervades some characteristic acrobatics that we used to hear before throughout their career. The Opener contains a notable emotive accentuation that uplifts the overall listening experience. Strike Anywhere closes Nightmares Of The West with We Make The Road By Walking. The group polarizes raging singalongs with remarkable harmonizations, while the rhythm section keeps the track as energetic as possible. This number talks about the uncertainty of life, about the constant search for meanings, but the struggle for better lives in a world full of injustice must endure until the end. It provides such a perfect closure to another brilliant material by these Richmond, Virginia based punk rockers.
Nightmares Of The West comes in so many variants including doublemint/swamp green pinwheel with the heavy neon yellow splatter, doublemint/swamp green with white, coke bottle clear with heavy doublemint and neon yellow splatter, black in coke bottle clear, and swamp green/doublemint galaxy. The EP is also available on compact disc and digitally across all streaming services. For more detailed info, check out the Pure Noise Records web store.