A crescendo of guitar feedback gives way to a crashing of thrashing drums and rhythmic guitars. This in turn gives way to heavy melodic riffing and then a pounding rhythm accompanied with melodic vocals.
This is how the highly political and socially active Canadian band Propagandhi ushers in their sixth studio album Supporting Caste.
Although not being as politically charged as previous releases, Supporting Caste follows in the vein of the band’s past two albums. Fans holding their breath for a more pop-punk release a lá 1993‘s How to Clean Everything will be sadly disappointed, but after 2001‘s Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes, anything resembling their earlier work would be a shame and waste of talent.
Main vocalist Chris Hannah’s exceptional guitar work is enhanced by newly added member David “The Beaver” Guillas on guitar. Bassist Todd Kowalski’s gruff vocals compliment Hannah’s cleaner key-conscious singing on the three tracks he gets to shine on.
The lyrics on Supporting Caste range from topics such as watching hockey and the social impact that sports announcers have on younger generations in “Dear Coachers Corners“ to allegorical short stories about communist citizens in dictatorial regimes with the track “Potemkin City Limits.“ When read on paper, the lyrics stand as very well-written prose, and this might be why the delivery of certain lines might sound choppy.
The tone of the songs off of Supporting Caste also varies. “The Bangers Embrace,“ an ode to the band Sacrifice, is the lightest of all the songs. This song follows one of the album’s heavier songs, “Incalculable Effects,“ creating a welcome juxtaposition of sludge and marshmallows. It is almost a 100% metal breakdown.
Supporting Caste is an album for those who like fast melodic thrash with a political and socially conscious agenda, albeit a very liberal one. Check out propagandhi.com for some of the causes they support because, as their lyrics illustrate, “this world ain’t nothing more than what we make of it.“
Give these tracks a listen: “Supporting Caste,” “Human(e) Meat,” “Incalculable Effects“
For fans of: Good Riddance, Megadeth, Strike Anywhere
– Edgar Delgado