Review || Strike Anywhere - "Nightmares Of The West"

Richmond, Virginia melodic punks Strike Anywhere have returned with a brand new EP, the first piece of music in a decade. Titled "Nightmares Of the West", it is released on July 17th via Pure Noise Records.

My first encounter with this band was when back in 2010 a friend dragged me to their show in our hometown. I'd had zero idea what we were going to see, but Strike Anywhere left me with such a lasting impression that I still remember their performance to this day. As soon as the album announcement came earlier this year, I knew it would be just what these times call for -and it turned out, the timing couldn't be better. Consisting of six original songs and a cover, "Nightmares Of The West" is a criticism on the current state of the world, especially the collapsing system in the US. However, even though the inspiration behind the compositions comes from angst and frustration, the message is not destructive but rather empowering. Through this choice of songs, the band puts forth the ideal of solidarity and calls for unity in order to fight against injustice

If we take as a fact that punk rock has always been at the forefront of every social struggle, addressing real issues and urging people to step out of their comfort zone in order to claim what is rightfully theirs, it comes as no surprise that opener "Documentary" boldly features the lines "We deserve to fight for everyone/for all that we lost/for all that we are". The tone of the EP is set on anthemic vibes and groove, with rhythmic patterns changing every now and then, as we seamlessly transition from melodic outbursts to rambunctious hooks. The guitars are on par with the groovy drumwork, the lyrics are straight-forward and blunt while Thomas Barnett's trademark vocals express incisively the wrongdoings of society.
If I had to pick favorites, the upbeat "Frontier Glitch" and the hymn "Imperium Of Waste" would be my first choices, because they are sonically opposite compositions and intrigue me, as well as "Opener", the Blocko cover paying tribute to their late drummer, Marc ‘Mates’ Maitland, who took his life in 2019.

Overall, "Nightmare Of The West" is well-timed. Seeing as the entire world suffers the exact same consequences of the crumbling capitalism and systemic discriminations can no longer be tolerated, this EP becomes easily relatable for listeners all around the globe. In a time where more people need to speak up and we need more political bands to use their platforms to advocate for a better future, it's great to see veterans return to the battlefield.
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