Tuesday, February 16, 2010


"Punk died when the first kid said, 'Punks not dead!" I have no idea who said that and I wish they were wrong but unfortunately with time it seems more and more that real punk music is on serious life support and showing signs of brain damage...hang on, apparently the brain damage has always been there. I know you're all thinking, "but Matt, how can this be?! A punk band won a Grammy this year! The announcer on the TV said so." Let's get something clear right off the bat, Green Day hasn't been relative to punk rock since the mid 90's. Ask a real punk fan ("real" being the key-term there) and they'll tell you the same exact thing. Green Day has been riding the sellout train since then and they have made a stupid amount of money doing it, and that's where the problems begin. Bands see the success (i.e money) that Green Day gets and they start to follow suit (see: Alkaline Trio). Now some people might say "hey, a band is like a business and if they want to make money then why stop them?" If your sole purpose in playing music is to make money then you are doing it quite wrong, it's one thing to sign to a major label as a business move (I remember the backlash from the punk community when Dillinger Four signed to Fat Wreck however) but it's another to change the sound and content for purely commercial reasons. When that occurs you are now venturing into"sell-out" territory. There is a Green Day musical in the works, yeah that's right, a Broadway musical is being made out of American Idiot. Now if that's not selling out then I don't know what is. At the very least to continue to call yourself a "punk" band is like a slap in the face to all the real punk bands that came before you. So yeah if there's one thing to take away here it's this: if your band gets big kids, don't make a musical based on one of your albums, it's just stupid.

Alright, end rant, start review:
"so it's one of the best metal albums of '09? But it's by a punk band?"
Propagandhi - Supporting Caste

For anyone not familiar with them Propagandhi is a very outspoken political-oriented punk rock band from Canada. These guys have been killing it since '86 and they are showing no signs of slowing down with their latest release. Again if you're not familiar with them they have been drifting towards a more technical metal influenced sound with their latest releases, and that shows here. This album really lets you hear some of the more metal influences on these guys while still remaining a solid political-punk release. Old school hardcore riff'ing and furious blast-beats abound while a few songs almost have a "lighter" feel to them. The track Potemkin City Limits is the perfect example of that with it's very melody oriented atmospheric guitar work. Still this is straight up anti-establishment music and Propagandhi loves sharing their opinions on government, human rights and tolerance with us, usually in an angry manner too. One of the things that Propagandhi has always impressed me with is their lyrics, they've always seemed to be able to say a lot with a little. Hooks get you to sing along with some catchy line or chorus until you dig deeper and get the whole meaning. These guys are the absolute experts at that, you'll listen to a song by them and then the next thing you know there is a line stuck in your head for the rest of the day. The opening track "Night Letters" showcases this beautifully and features thrash-influenced guitar work that would make the likes of James Hetfield, Scott Ian and Kerry King jealous (notice I didn't mention Dave Mustaine because Dave Mustaine never gets jealous of anyone AMIRITE?!). Some of the best displays of the technical chops of Propagandhi comes on the track "The Funeral Procession" and makes it one of the standout songs off this album in my opinion. All in all, in a year that was pretty weak in music (2009) Supporting Caste is quite an astonishing work and is an ideal alternative to the likes of Rise Against who are fast becoming generic and pop infused. This album is worth every cent and I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. Propagandhi - Supporting Caste