I’m not the type to yell “sellout!” when a band signs to a major label. Sometimes it’s a good step for them. I might blink once or twice when it’s a band like Anti-Flag, who’ve made their reputation cursing big business and the government, but hey, whatever. I will, however, be the first one to point out when a band starts sounding more like Good Charlotte than their former selves. Sorry, guys.
For Blood and Empire starts off with a track that could’ve fit onto their previous album (which I liked a lot, by the way), at least sound-wise. From there, it takes a detour through several different styles, from hints of the Beastie Boys to bits of Against Me! and AFI. They haven’t cut down on the political content, which is still about as subtle as Fahrenheit, 9/11, but there are quite a few tracks, especially in the middle of the album (“The Project for a New American Century,” “Hymn for the Dead,” and “This is the End (For You My Friend)”) that are screaming out for radio airplay.
Anti-Flag really wants to be the voice of a generation, with song titles that read like a protest sign and their slow climb up the ladder of fame, jumping from label to label. And I can’t fault the sentiment behind the songs–if one kid learns to think about what he hears on the news or in school from a song by Anti-Flag, then that’s worth jumping to a major label. There’s some fun in this record, but it’s nowhere near the level of their last one.