Album ReviewsReviews

Propagandhi – Failed States

on August 30, 2012, 7:56am
propagandhi C+
Release Date

Punk rock has always been about fighting the good fight — or at least fighting something. And while the genre’s knee-jerk defiance can sometimes come off as canned rebellion (even The Clash’s war on the man wore thin post-Sandinista!), Propagandhi’s scathingly satiric style of punk is as brash and unflinching today as it ever has been. Systemic rage might be the oldest card in the genre’s handbook, but the Canadian band doesn’t use political angst as a crutch. It’s just in their DNA, and their message has only gotten more focused and incensed with every passing record. This anger hasn’t worn thin.

Neither has the band’s music, which has morphed over the years from adolescent, NOFX-inspired pop-punk into the grey area where punk and metal jostle for volume. But even after six records and 20 years of radically leftist metallic punk, the wounds are still fresh. Failed States, the band’s sixth full-length effort and first for Epitaph Records, is as vitriolic and sneering as anything the Manitoba band has ever done.

The band amplified its war cry considerably with the addition of second guitarist David Guillas, who added some girth to 2008’s Supporting Caste. The same density weighs heavy on Failed States, which cranks out 12 tracks of the trademark brutish, left-to-the-point-of-Marxist smart-ass punk rock the band has trafficked in for years. Album opener “Note to Self” eases into the record, staving off some of the manic energy in favor of alarming mid-tempo restraint. Fortunately, the band wastes little time retreating back to their patented breakneck tempos and Chomsky-touting political diatribes. From the rollicking drums that highlight tracks like “Devil’s Creek” to the manic hardcore freneticism of “Hadron Collision,” Propagandhi never fails in making their punishment still feel fresh.

Bitching and moaning might be a punk rock rite of passage, but nobody, not nobody, dishes out snot-nosed anti-authority better than these guys. While scores of pop punk and emo bands continue to mope halfheartedly over lost love and childish transgressions, Propagandhi’s tangible rage has always had eyes for larger, considerably weightier targets, and that combined with their musical prowess works in their favor once again here.

Essential Tracks: “Hadron Collision”, “Devil’s Creek”


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October 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm

The Real Essential Tracks: Note to Self, Rattan Cane, Status Update, Lotus Gait, Duplicate Keys Icaro.

I’m being very very picky here. Failed States, and Dark Matters are nearly as good as well.

September 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm

They made a PERFECT record with Supporting Caste, so it would be impossible for them to top it. But Failed States accomplishes it’s goals just as effectively. Far and away the best band going today, most powerful and most consistent. The real essential tracks: “Note To Self”, “Status Update”, “Unscripted Moment”

September 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm

three and a half star….You fucking deaf muppet!

September 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm

This is a really bad review. Propagandhi are not “left to the point of marxist”,thats just lazy stereotyping. I don’t think you actually listened to this album. I think you probably read a couple of other reviews, maybe listened to one or two tracks, read a biog, and then cracked this out in about 3 minuits. No-one would choose Hadron collision as one of the essential tracks off of this album. This is a brilliant album, but a terrible review.

Paul Stevenson
September 4, 2012 at 11:34 am

I can agree with the 3 1/2 rating because while this still shits over the last few piss poor attempts other bands like Nofx have done it is just not comparable to the standard they set on supporting caste and I’m not sure they could have made another album that good again so when you rate a band in comparison to their best album 3 and half seems a fair objective judgement. I thought they would never beat potemkin city limits but I was proven wrong with supporting caste, I just feel that if they had left out some of the riffing and put more thought into song structure and taped Rods mouth shut this new album could have been perfect, maybe next time. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great album it’s just not their best and certainly no magnum opus!

September 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Three and a half stars?! Seriously? This record is f#cking amazing! After already unofficially establishing their position over the past two or three records, “Failed States” plants Propagandhi at the top of metallic/prog/technical hardcore/punk. These guys have advanced amazingly as musicians over the past three records. But “Failed States” is their magnum opus. There are a few bands that have the musical chops to hang, but Propagandhi proves with this record they are some of the best musicians the punk rock world has to offer, and they can play ANYTHING from pop punk, to raging thrash hardcore, to 80s era speed metal, to progg-y technical Rush inspired rock… and it blends together seemlessly. I can tell this record will grow on me and I already think it’s amazing. Anything this band has done since Today’s Empires… is 5 out of 5 stars. These guys just get better with every record they make. My favorite band of all time.

August 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Nice review and a great record!


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