Sound — 8
Anti-Flag's newest album, "For Blood And Empire," has its ups and downs, but when the CD is done spinning, you'll have enjoyed yourself. The album kicks off with the energetic "I'd Tell You But". A catchy, high-string, guitar riff comes through the speakers as an addictive powerchord rytym plays. Anti-Flag is known for their skill at creating a great riff while keeping things simple, and they once again deliver. Musically, "For Blood And Empire" is great. The guitar work is simple but, as stated earlier, catchy. Most of the songs on this album display a maturing Anti-Flag. Justin Sane's guitar work just keeps going uphill. The same with Chris Head. As for #2, his bass work is something I look up to. His style adds complexity to some of these songs. Pat Thetic is a great drummer, and he does well here.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on "For Blood And Empire" take a stand against the Bush Regime's (excuse me, I meant "Administration's") war in Iraq. "Confessions Of An Economic Hitman" deals with exactly what the title says (in fact, the name of the album was taken from a line in this song). Probably the most powerful song on this album is "Depleted Uranium Is A War Crime". Here, Justin Sane directly addresses the issue of using depleted uranium in ammo rounds. Nowhere on "For Blood And Empire" does it appear that Anti-Flag are going to back down in the fight against tyranny.
Overall Impression — 7
However, some of the songs on this album are just mediocre. "War Sucks, Let's Party" lacks the attraction that many of the other tracks have. I can honestly say that this song bores me. Overall, the album can't be labeled a masterpiece, but rather a large collection of great singles, and a couple of filler tracks. Anti-Flag, after "The Terror State", has been labeled "sellouts" by some hardcore, punk fans. "For Blood and Empire", it should be noted, is quite polished. Justin Sane's vocals are a bit less rash than in previous albums. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Anti-Flag has sold out, but I will admit that the new production quality and sound is much different than their older albums, such as "Die for Your Government" and "A New Kind Of Army". I rather enjoyed the change. Overall, a good album. If you are a new Anti-Flag fan looking for a starting place, get the CD. If you're a spike-haired punk who has his or her head buried in The Sex Pistols, Operation Ivy, The Dead Kennedys, and only likes pre-"Underground Network" Anti-Flag CDs, this is not going to be your favorite.