Anti-Flag – 17 Song Demo CD (Cleopatra Records)

Can we even talk about US melodic punk rock without mentioning the legendary Anti-Flag? I guess not. Whoever stumbled upon this veteran punk rock quartet experienced a rush of wisely assembled lyrics and energetic, melodic, crushing riffs. Each full-length deals with not only local but global politics and topics that are striking society on a daily basis. Since the early nineties, Anti-Flag came a long way from a small basement band to a household name, and that came with a pretty good reason. I can’t even start this review without mentioning some of my favorite records, such as Die For The Government, New Kind Of Army, Underground Network, The Terror State, but the remainder of discography is also equally brilliant as these records I mentioned.

Recently, Cleopatra Records announced a vinyl and compact disc reissue of their early demos, previously available only as a cassette edition. This collection of demos includes classics like Drink Drank Punk, Fuck Police Brutality, and Red, White & Brainwashed, plus many more, of what a decent amount of compositions never ended up on their debut record. The digital version also includes That’s When I Reach For My Revolver, originally performed by legendary Mission Of Burma. 17 Song Demo represents Anti-Flag in its purest, roughest, rawest, but still melodic form. These demos showcase the early stages of the band, which perhaps contains more straightforward punk rock numbers than their newer recordings. The group packed all the angst, disobedience, emotions, aggression, and energy into these songs, but you may also notice how these songs paved the way for the Anti-Flag as we know it today.

You can vividly hear how the various subgenres of punk rock inspired Anti-Flag to write and compose these tunes. There are traces of hardcore punk, melodic hardcore, melodic punk rock, classic punk rock, UK82, and anarcho-punk involved from scratch to finish. Each element enhances these compositions, which burst with cleverly assembled socio-political commentary and bone-crushing dynamics. However, you will get the feeling you are listening to another Anti-Flag record as soon as you press play on your turntable because these guys established their recognizable sound from the very beginnings of their career. 17 Song Demo is a must-have for every die-hard Anti-Flag fan, but also a great starting point if you are a newbie to the sound of this veteran punk rock band. Head over to Cleopatra Records for more detailed information about ordering this gem.

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