January 8, 2008 | , | 4.5

Arson Anthem, Arson Anthem

Phil Anselmo is without a doubt one of those rock dudes that has already well established himself as one hell of a force in metal. He’s fronted one of the greatest bands in the genre with Pantera, has delved into the darker side of sludge with Superjoint Ritual and destroyed stoner metal as we know it with Down. So what should we expect with this latest project — one in which he’s not singing, but shredding on guitar?

Coming together with fellow Superjoint alum Hank Williams III on drums, EyeHateGod’s Mike Williams on vocals and Collin Yeo on bass, Arson Anthem look to channel early 80s hardcore in an effort to resurrect a viciousness that hasn’t been heard in some time. Shredding through eight tracks of grinding, caustic and crusty punk with a no frills, “fuck you” attitude, Anselmo and crew attack your senses with reckless abandon and aggression. Reminiscent of bands like Negative Approach, Discharge and others, Arson Anthems self titled Ep is raw fury in every sense of the word.

The production is just as raw as the music it’s delivering, leaving a grimy residue of booze and cigarette smoke on your speakers. I’ve listened to this EP for almost a month now andit hasn’t lost any punch it had the first time I popped the disc into the player.

Year of the Fork
The opening track starts immediately and with no introduction. A violent burst of noisy guitar and aggressive vocals hit quickly as the band gets right down to business. The raw production really gives the band an older, much less refined sound that definitely let’s you know they mean business.

Doomed Morale
The full throttle “Year of the Fork” quickly shifts into this next track with little fanfare or transition. It’s in your face and aggressive. There’s a great deal of “fuck it all” attitude in this one.

Bunker Life
As quickly and as seamlessly as Arson Anthem is shifting from one track to another, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a live recording — them sitting around and knocking the whole thing out in a couple of hours. I love it! This one has a few darker moments than the first two tracks.

Hammer Them Out
Holy hell. After a brief (and I meen brief) transition, Arson Anthem let loose with the furiouly played “Hammer Them Out.” I love the chorus to it as the band slows down just a bit and adds some sludge into the mix. This is probably my favorite track on the disc.

Wrecked Like Clockwork
Again, zero transition as Anselmo and crew shift into the next track. We’re already at the fifth song in under 7 minutes. Straight to the point thrashing hardcore. You gotta love it.

Cops Shoot Coke
Coming in at only 35 seconds, “Cops Shoot Coke” brings in elements of the previous song and explodes with a dirty, raw diatribe against law authority. It’s violent, angry and nasty.

The Avoider
Now, this one has a bit different of a sound compared to the rest of the album. It’s got a more metal tinge to it than the first six tracks.

Sri Lankan Medication
The final track on the short EP is a pummeling assault on the senses. I don’t know how many times one can say aggressive in an album review, but Jesus Christ this is one hell of a grinding attack.

~ ~ ~

As a huge fan of just about everything these guys have done in their main groups, I was beyond stoked to get a copy of this one. That said, I had no idea what to expect and after that first listen was simply blown away. It’s not the best written album and certainly not the best produced, but it is honest in its stripped down presentation. Raw, aggressive hardcore in the vain of early 80s bands rehashed for your listening pleasure and it freakin’ kills.

Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: