by James Zalucky
On the back cover of Insecurity Notoriety, a little computer screen rendered as a skull and bones symbol is pictured with the inscription: "Illegal Downloading is Killing Music…but so is Arson Anthem"
Well don't go blaming me for the first part, I bought the CD dammit! And I'm very glad I did. "Supergroups" don't always fulfill the promise their title suggests, but sometimes things come together quite nicely. Phil Anselmo (PANTERA, DOWN, SUPERJOINT RITUAL, and about 10,000 other bands) has virtually made a career out of this concept. In the case of ARSON ANTHEM, you have Mike Williams (EYEHATEGOD) on vocals, Hank Williams III on the drums, Collin Yeo on bass, and Phil on the guitar. Rather than spiral into some wild progressive experiment, this set goes straight to the point: "Fuck it, let's just start a Punk band".
As Hardcore Punk goes, ARSON ANTHEM conjures the original 80-86 sound of NEGATIVE APPROACH, MDC, and SS DECONTROL as well as the more grind-influenced feel of bands like CITIZEN'S ARREST and TOXIC NARCOTIC. In terms of attitude and lyrical content, Insecurity Notoriety shows an obvious appreciation for the legacy of Crust-Punk bands like DISCHARGE and NAUSEA. In the record's crude sound and fast tempos, one can hear a touch of HELLHAMMER and early CELTIC FROST shine through the mix. Mike Williams sounds very much like himself, but when compared to records like Dopesick or Take as Needed for Pain, the faster delivery required here seems to slightly alter his voice (even sounding like Stza Crack in some parts). While not requiring a lot of technical ability, good hardcore punk at least calls for a guitarist who can make a few cool riffs and play the crap out of them. Phil definitely succeeds in this area, even throwing a few solos in. Distorted bass lines and insane drums abound, Hank and Collin make for a solid rhythm section. Fast, loud, and irreverent- you can tell the band had fun doing this.
You could say the record gets repetitive. Yes, and I could say…who the hell cares? Like the debut record before it, Insecurity Notoriety gives the listener a solid, satisfying slab of Hardcore Punk. In the world of Metal and Punk, the two genres continually overlap and inform one another. Despite this, far too many headbangers go on without any knowledge of Punk and the ideas it stood for. On ARSON ANTHEM'S Myspace page, the band outlines their mission to bring a raw attitude back into heavy music as an affront to what they call "modern 'Metal' repetition regurgitation". In the generic malaise of contemporary Metal and Hard-rock, ARSON ANTHEM might just be the jolt of energy we all need. Now if they would just play outside the NOLA area, they could bring this energy to a live audience, perhaps an audience in the Northeast…please?
Favorite tracks: Foul Pride, Isolation Militia, Insecurity Notoriety, Crippled Life, Hands off Approach
7.5 out of 10
PS- If they were to tour, who should they tour with? Discuss!