Another Nod to Propagandhi for Album of the Year September 8th, 2009

Global Domination does a great review of Supporting Caste and has it in the early favs for album of the year.

Disclaimer: You’ll definitely need a thick skin for left-wing, “alternative” thinking with this, as it is as “socially conscious” as it gets. Not that I mind that, really, but to be honest, I don’t give a fuck about the band supporting “vegan lifestyles, animal rights campaigns and feminism, and hav[ing] described themselves as “Gay Positive”.

This side of the political scale, support whatever you want, if you produce intelligent music while doing so, I’ll probably be pretty much indifferent. I’d eat a giant fucken steak cut from an exploited, gay bull while listening to this album and wouldn’t even notice. Yep, I’m that cool. Or not. Which, if you check it out two and a half sentences earlier, in reverse of course means that Propagandhi have produced intelligent music on “Supporting caste”. And yes, I do even enjoy some of the lyrics. More of that, later on. Now this disclaimer turned into something else somehow, but let me add another thing: This is far from pure metal. If that’s a problem, here’s the door.

Good, but what exactly is it then, you might ask. I’ll tell you. The music these four smiling faces have produced on their latest effort is something like post-punk, semi-hardcore à la Rise Against with a couple of technical tricks and thrashy bits plus some parts (see “Incalculable effects”) that could be taken straight from a Mastodon album. And it’s actually enjoyable, I might add. Just to keep you reading. And because it’s the truth. So far, this is in fact among the best releases this year for me. I wrote “post-punk” and “semi-hardcore” because the overall sound is far from abrasive, as opposed to the more extreme ends of both genres manage to sound. The thing is, these guys could be on the radio if they wanted to be, as the guitars and vocals are very, very accessible – Yet, they use these means in a totally different way and instead produce great music. I dig that.

Instrument-wise, they know what they’re doing, with shredding (yes, shredding) guitars that have a thin, punkish sound, good bass-playing that could actually be a bit more prominent, and full-on drumming – I’ve actually even spotted a very short blastbeat part. From these ingredients one might suspect a rather generic mainstreamed “punk” album, but it’s not, it’s a lot more and a lot better than that.
Propagandhi combine catchiness and sense of melody, especially in the vocals, with complex riffs as well as song structures and lyrics that have obviously been written independently from the music and have been fitted onto it in a way that’s nothing short of awesome.

Dead Ron McLean, dear Coach’s Corner,

I’m writing in order for someone to explain to my niece the distinction between these mandatory pre-game group-rites of submission and the rallies at Nuremburg. Specifically the function the ritual serves in conjunction with what everybody knows is in the end a kids’ game…

Make something like that work in a song and actually manage to implement a goosebumps-inducing moment that still works after way over ten listens and you’ve made me a fan. Clearly these guys have been to a couple too many uni lectures, but who am I to judge them… If they are the sociology nerds they come across as, they’re probably better off having a band instead of hoping for a job anyway. Anyway, furthermore Propagandhi manage to break up their rhythmic patterns quite a bit so that the whole thing is far, far away from the almost radio-friendly impression a few randomly picked seconds might possibly, yet not necessarily, give you. Ah, the joys of randomness.

Negatives? The (few) intro samples on here don’t really cut it for me and they could’ve left out a song or two. And one more thing to all bands on this planet and beyond: Get rid of the fucken hidden tracks!! Apart from that though, I’m very impressed. Look, it’s not my fault. I grew up on The Offspring, and this is like a much more complex and mature version with a very slight metal-influence. And this is a mixture I can live with very well. Hang in there, metal scene, or this will be featured in my Best-Of-2009.

The earth will crumble.

Category: Propagandhi