DS Album Review: Anti-Flag – “Lies They Tell Our Children”

Our favorite Pittsburgh foursome, Anti-Flag, are 13 albums deep into their career that has spanned since the late ’80s. There was a long break and line-up change before they resumed their work in ’92, but they are still angry, and this album shows it. To be clear, Lies They Tell Our Children is Anti-Flags’ first […]

Our favorite Pittsburgh foursome, Anti-Flag, are 13 albums deep into their career that has spanned since the late ’80s. There was a long break and line-up change before they resumed their work in ’92, but they are still angry, and this album shows it. To be clear, Lies They Tell Our Children is Anti-Flags’ first concept album and is a collection of probably their finest and most forward songs since their ’96 debut album. The album is 11 tracks, and seven of them have guest features, from Ashrita Kumar from Pinkshift, Campino from Die Toten Hosen, Tim McIlrath, and Brian Baker from Bad Religion, to name a few. While I usually believed that too many guest features were a red flag, this album shows that if you have an idea, you have a clear message, and people believe in the message you’re trying to bring forth, the number of guest features does not matter.

Let’s rewind to 2020; what the fuck happened? Covid, the world stood still; Anti-Flag released an album like many others. Now let’s fast-forward to 2022: war, impending doom, and most of us have given up hope that the system will ever change. Here’s Anti-Flag with clear, straight-to-the-point messages. There’s no misinterpreting anything with their lyrics on this album. Happy New Year, all; I’ll let Anti-Flags point out what is wrong with the system in 2023. But Lies They Tell Our Children doesn’t hold back on any song, and it’s time to go in for the kill. Anti-Flag has tried to perfect the balance between catchy hooks, headbanging instruments, and meaningful lyrics for the past three decades. I thought 20/20 Vision was a masterpiece, but Lies They Tell Our Children has outdone it. So I’ll get on with my review, and I’ll tell you this: I’m a sucker for any album that takes open digs and trashes the Government in any country.

“Sold Everything is a solid album opener; the song starts slowly with the rhythm guitar taking the lead before Justin Sane jumps in with their much-appreciated political lyrics. “Neo-liberal white saviors, Murdoch and Fox News. Fuck the Pittsburgh police and our president too!” sings Justin Sane, backed by the rest of the band during the song. Next up is “Modern Meta Medicine” ft. Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage taking their dig at Big Pharma, and I would like to say America’s significant consumption of pills and other things. Still, the fact is that it isn’t just a problem in America but everywhere in the world. While “Sold Everything” doesn’t set the tone for the album, this song does. It’s fast-paced with loud drumming and guitars but again highlights the catchy hooks. We’ve all heard this song for some time, so there’s nothing I can say that everyone else hasn’t caught on to. “Laugh. Cry. Smile. Die” ft. Shane Told of Silverstein was the first single to shoot off this album. “The lies we tell our children shaping everything we know/ Turning fact into fiction streamed on every single show” goes well into how the misinformation isn’t anything we can run from. Especially the younger generation has much more access to knowledge than the later generations had while growing up.

I’ll skip a bit because we’ve all heard most of the features, but let’s bring “Shallow Graves” ft. TrĂ© Burt into focus. Now this song is probably one of the biggest standouts, in my opinion, and sad it wasn’t released as a single. This song sounds different, with heavy guitar riffs, rough vocals, and rapid drumming. But it has a more unpolished indie vibe before it goes into the classic Anti-Flag sound throughout the album. “Only In My Head” is another standout track, but this one is without guest features. “They are after me/ But no one’s free,” screams Justin Sane throughout the track, with the rapid machine drumming and simple “oh’s” from the band in between, concluding a great album. Things changed over the years, but Anti-Flag hasn’t that much, and that isn’t bad because this album feels like the beginning of something big to come.

Standouts to listen to: SHALLOW GRAVES, IMPERIALISM, SOLD EVERYTHING and ONLY IN MY HEAD

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