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Imagine yourself standing point blank in front of a tank's cannon as it fires into you. That's the basic experience of listening to this EP. Arson Anthem is of course the punk bastard child of hardened music veterans Phil Anselmo (guitar), Mike Williams (vocals), and Hank Williams III (drums) with Collin E. Yeo on bass. And if you thought that such a lineup will come up with something lackluster and shitty, then this EP is here to bitch slap you.
Fuck intros, fuck any opening riffs, "Year Of The Fork" straight up kicks you in the teeth with a steel-toed boot, and right there you realize how immensely abrasive, harsh, and raw this record sounds. Drums on full blast, the guitars screech into your ears while the bass whirs like a buzzsaw, and on top of that Mike IX coats the microphone with insane hate-soaked screams. This is how punk should sound. Every song chews you up and doesn't let go. Hank III on the drums is an absolute beast, proving that he is a god among men with all the instruments he can play. Phil's guitar work is also admirable, especially on "Wrecked Like Clockwork", which should instead be called "Phil vs. the Guitar". Collin Yeo just destroys every track with that mighty distortion buzz and Mike IX is a force of nature. His screams on "Doomed Morale" could set off avalanches.
The "Arson Anthem" EP has everything, whether it's the crusty chugging "Bunker Life", short and sweet "Cops Shoot Coke", or the batshit insane "Sri Lankan Medication", which even includes backing vocals by Seth Putnam (RIP) of Anal Cunt. But my absolute favorite has to be "Hammer The Out", which is like a propane tank exploding in your apartment. With a swift 1 2 1 2 3 4, it unleashes total punk mayhem with Mike IX screaming "HAMMER THEM OUT" at the top of his lungs. Good stuff.
Arson Anthem have recorded one of the most abrasive, harsh, and raw punk records that would easily fit in with the likes of Discharge or Infest. There is no bullshit here, just a huge fuck off wall of noise that kicks your ass into oblivion. And this is a beating you will gladly undertake again and again.
With a lineup consisting of Mike IX, Hank III, Phil Anselmo, and a guy I've never heard of, but absolutely destroys with his bass, Collin Yeo, you know that failure is hardly possible. Arson Anthem is the musical entity of an outcast leper spitting acidic words of anger and frustration at everything he sees. Arson Anthem makes their message clear.
These guys are interpreting the vicious intensity and sounds of bands like Discharge, Void, Infest, and Rorschach. Punk rock/hardcore bands with a metallic edge, and a confrontational, no bullshit attitude. The songs on this record takes these influences and hurl them into a whole other storm that doesn't exceed their predecessors, but gives them their touch on music. What we get are intense songs that build up on you with passages reminiscent of Hellhammer or the slower sequences of the songs on Napalm Death's Scum Album. Then, erupts into a full force blast with Mike IX barking into the microphone. It doesn't stop for you, and you're left to ride with them on these short compositions that don't generally last longer than a minute and thirty seconds. Whew, by the time the album's over, you're left with two thoughts on your mind. One, those guys are frickin' pissed and intense, two, the songs are great, and have memorable instrumentation, but I can't help wonder why they all sound like one long, progressive passage. While this might be true the first time around, a few listens will have to distinguising which songs are which, they each have something memorable about them. Especially 'Bunker Life', 'Cops Shoot Coke' and 'Doomed Morale'.
The instrumentations solid. Hank the Third brings the grind/thrash punk drum hammering with a continuity that keeps these songs furious by channeling Cryptic Slaughter and Mick Harris. Collin Yeo's dirty bass really makes these songs heavy too, as Phil Anselmo's guitar is lethal, but probably wouldn't make these songs as enjoyable if it weren't for the bass to support it. Mike IX is also the man for the job, only a man such as he could fill that role.
This EP is great if you want to listen to some great crust/hardcore reminiscent of all those great 80's bands or if you're a fan of Phil Anselmo and his gang.