Friday, August 26, 2016

Disaster Strikes: “In The Age Of Corporate Personhood” (2016) CD Review

I don’t often review hardcore punk, because I don’t often listen to it these days. But a few things got me curious about the new release from Disaster Strikes. The first thing is that the band is from Boston. Maybe not a great reason to want to listen to a band, but I’m feeling a bit homesick for that great city. The second thing is the song list. Some of these titles caught my interest, like “Deconstruct The Plot,” “Song And Purpose” and of course the title track. The third thing is that it’s on Jello Biafra’s label, Alternative Tentacles, and that Jello Biafra joins them on one track. His name still carries a lot of weight with me. I figured if he wanted to be a part of this disc, then it was at least something worth listening to. And it certainly is. And maybe hardcore punk is more relevant than ever, which in a way is depressing, because it means we have a lot to be angry about.

The disc opens with “The Fighting Path,” getting right into it, asking at the start, “How do I dare?/Where to begin in these two minutes I’m borrowing of your precious time.” And yeah, most of these songs are approximately two minutes – in, out. This track announces their political and social stances, wondering what one can do in such a short time (the length of a song, the length of a life), but not letting that stop them from trying. “We will not lick the boots of the one percent/We choose the fighting path.” That’s followed by “You Are Nothing,” which packs a lot of anger into a minute. Yeah, it’s only a minute long, and is totally effective, and is one of my favorite tracks.

But even better is “In The Age Of Corporate Personhood,” the CD’s title track and the one that features Jello Biafra on vocals. The band has plenty to say on this track. Of course, the idea of corporate personhood is a strange and complicated one, but it is frightening how much power corporations seem to have these days. It really does feel like they are the government, or somehow apart from it and all consequences, and this track tackles this subject, saying “corporations shall have the rights denied to you and me/Bestowed unto them shall be a life worth more than human life itself/Liberty from regulation, investigation, or prosecution.” This song also has a play on the Lord’s Prayer: “Our corporations, which art infallible, hallowed be our trade/Our kingdom is come/Our will be done across Earth as approved by the markets/And forgive us our treason as we vilify those who would speak against us/Lead us not into equality, but deliver them into more poverty.” Not bad, eh? I also really appreciate the line, “How many lies can our minds forget?

“Your Life = Their Lie” packs a pretty strong punch (though on the back of the CD case, it is misspelled as “Thier Lie” – yikes!). Check out these lyrics: “You dream the dreams that line their pockets/Manufactured aspirations masking quiet desperation/No cure for the sinking feeling that your life is their lie.” It’s a powerful song, and one that will have your wanting to break out of your skin as you dance around to its fast pace, trying to feel you have at least a little control over your life.

The band tackles unlimited corporate power again on the CD’s final track, “Now Or Never.” “Will you let this moment pass?/That’s exactly what they want.” And do the closing lines, “Why are we still fighting/It’s because you’re not,” make me feel a bit guilty for checking out of politics completely? Yes, a bit.

CD Track List
  1. The Fighting Path
  2. You Are Nothing
  3. In The Age Of Corporate Personhood
  4. Deconstruct The Plot
  5. Drone Strike
  6. Song And Purpose
  7. Your Life = Their Lie
  8. The Harvest
  9. A New Solidarity!
  10. Now Or Never
In The Age Of Corporate Personhood is scheduled to be released on September 9, 2016 on Alternative Tentacles Records. By the way, that awesome cover artwork is by Bill Hauser.

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