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February 29, 2004

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Beginning with a short string-based intro, this record then kicks itself straight into life, inspiring this reviewer to do the same.

Exit English, the band's second full-length, shows Strike Anywhere at their fastest, heaviest, and most melodic. The band's political edge on this record is as apparant as ever. Vocalist Thomas: "the songwriting on Exit English has more to do, I feel, with giving an outlet for the necessary catharsis each of us needs. To project and reflect the hope of people worldwide - organizing and communicating against this unilateral action, and the long wake of corporate penetration and the further denigration and circumvention of international law that we fear is soon to come."

Big words aside, this record is 12 chant-along choruses, 12 bloody screaming messes, and 12 songs loaded with imagery, exploding into the global with a personal base not so well documented in the past.

As your reviewer writes, a track called "'Til Days Shall Be No More" begins to burst out through the speakers. Could this be a sign that said reviewer should get on with the review?

"Blaze" begins with a shout along, tempo changing, lead-guitar laden track. Even on first listen, SA's lyrical standing becomes apparent - this is not a band you will find singing 'boo hoo my girlfriend dumped me' songs.

"Extinguish" is a lighter-at-times slice of SA, possibly single material. This writer's knowledge of SA is not very extensive.. does this band release singles? If not, the Richmond, Virginia based group may want to think about doing so. Breaking out from the RVA scene to bigger things could be what this record will bring them.

"Fifth Estate", one of two songs on this record that are just over a minute long, is a pretty forgettable song. As much as I am trying to like this band, this song fails to stand out vastly from the last track.

"In The Fingernails" is described by Thomas as "(celebrating) the internationalist, peace movement, using imagery and ideas from the very successful Anti War March we had in our hometown on November 9 last year."

The song rocks into life, a fast drumbeat carrying the song along. The vocals in this especially stand out, this is really the kind of band you need to see live to really be a fan of. These vocals justy beg for that front-row choir to be screaming along with them.

"Infrared" could almost be a punk song, as opposed to SA's normal hardcore blend. However, SA blend this type of sound with their own, making a hybrid song that clocks in at 3:30, second longest on this record.

Death By Stereo/AFI fans might enjoy "Modern Life", a super-fast, 'whoaaa-ohhh' filled yell along.

Notice how I keep using clichéd phrases consisting of the word 'yell', 'scream', 'shout', 'chant', and others (if only I could think of any more verbs)? Yeah, that's a slight problem with this record. Although RVA scenesters will deny this allegation, SA suffer slightly from that age old syndrome, the curse of similarity and repetitiveness disorder. Not that this is all bad; SA have a good, strong sound and lyrical base. However, listening to the entire album several times over reveals the fact that some tracks can be skipped over in favour of the more varied ones present on this record. There are similarities between several tracks, meaning that this record is not the most wholly original record it could have been.

Not that I'm asking Strike Anywhere to write a ska-punk-jazzcore-death metal tune, however. It's a confusing job, writing reviews. I liked this record. I just didn't like it. At least in parts. Well... some parts... so maybe a 7. But then, the 4 minute long track ("'Til Days Shall Be No More")was good.. maybe an 8? Hell, I don't know.

7.5, because I'm a pacifist.


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