Strike Anywhere – ‘Nightmares of the West’

By Ellie Odurny

It might be 10 years since Strike Anywhere released new music, but their infectious, melodic, hardcore-infused punk rock commentary on the state of the world has never been more relevant. Their latest EP ‘Nightmares Of The West’ tackles themes of personal loss, global injustice, and political frustration, but also contains glimmers of hope for a better future and a sense of community and perseverance.

‘Documentary’ kicks off with upbeat guitar licks bringing a sense of energetic positivity to proceedings. Much like their previous releases, Strike Anywhere manage to produce catchy tunes with lively beats at the same time as packing in more serious, politically charged lyrical output. This is something that bands from this era of melodic American punk – like The Bouncing Souls, Rise Against, and Anti-Flag – seem to do very well. Their songs are lighthearted enough to sing along to, but angry and disenfranchised enough to deal with important issues. You’ll chant along to the chorus, then go out and smash the oppressive systems of society with a sense of unity and togetherness.

‘Dress The Wounds’ is a fast paced ode to personal identity and societal control, with impassioned shouts to wake up from politics and fight for peace. Likewise, ‘Imperium Of Waste’ continues the protest themes of the record with a slower, fist punching beat and a call to reject authority and question the systems of Western society. The singalong lyrics “no-one remembers it all ‘til monuments fall” from third track ‘The Bells’ couldn’t be more appropriate in the current climate, complete with power riffs and a toe tapping, head bopping beat.

Latest single ‘Frontier Glitch’ packs everything you could want from a modern punk rock song into just 97 seconds. The visceral lyrics, singalong chorus, minor-key harmonies and fast paced riffs meld into a powerful punk anthem – there’s even time for a momentary guitar solo to complete this compact package of passionate greatness.

‘Opener’ is a cover of underground UK punk band Blocko’s 2013 track, in tribute to their drummer Marc ‘Mates’ Maitland who took his life in 2019. It’s a poignant and heartfelt inclusion on the EP, a way for Strike Anywhere to acknowledge the grief experienced with the loss of those close to us, but also to recognise the need to move forward, to heal, and to support one another in times of hardship.

‘Nightmares Of The West’ finishes off with ‘We Make The Road By Walking’, a final blast of guitars and speedy drum beats alongside a balanced combination of ardent shouting and melodic lyricism. The brakes go on in the final half of the song, slowing the pace to see out the EP with a last refrain of solidarity.

A lot has happened since Strike Anywhere’s previous full length, 2009’s ‘Iron Front’, was released, but their new material is still as catchy, engaging, and significant as ever in 2020. Their sound may not have changed an awful lot, but that’s not to say they’ve not developed as a band – writing new music that reflects their personal growth, as well as remaining pertinent to the ever-changing world around us.

ELLIE ODURNY

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