My whole world has been torn apart. Scott Vogel was always the angriest man in hardcore, every subsequent Terror record reinforcing his message of disillusionment, dissatisfaction and general vitriol. It was a done deal and we all knew what to expect every couple of years. Now it’s 2016 and he’s gone and made a record with some other hardcore mainstays; and he sings on it, in fact, it’s mostly singing. Sing-alongs, you could say, and those familiar with the term in the context of late 80’s to early 90’s hardcore would know exactly what type of bands you are talking about. The thing is; if you’d have said to me four days ago that ‘Scott Vogel is releasing a hardcore-punk record and he sings on it’, I would have laughed. But the only thing funny about this record is how awesome it is.
The Anti-Circle, an album by a new band called ‘World Be Free’, is a modern take on the classic albums and bands that influenced not only the members of this group, but bands and entire scenes all over the world. With an album that references Minor Threat, Cro-Mags, 7 Seconds, Dag Nasty, early Sick Of It All, early Murphy’s Law, and even some late 90’s Agnostic Front; Scott Vogel (Terror/Buried Alive), Arthur Smilios (Gorilla Biscuits), Andrew Kline (Strife), Sammy Siegler (CIV/Judge) and Joe Garlipp (Envy) have created a melodic, almost posi-core band.
Beginning with the track titled as the band; ‘World Be Free’ launches into a skate-punk infused taster of what’s to come. The build-up and breakdown of this track in particular, is one of the best moments on the whole album. There’s a catchy melody, gang chants, fast drums, and even a hilarious little guitar lead to cap it off. From there until the end, honestly, it’s hit after hit.
The Anti-Circle appeals to me so much because it’s almost like a trip down memory lane, or at least a greatest hits record from a band I’ve never heard before, and yet ‘World Be Free’ succeeds in sounding exciting and original. I don’t mean to imply that The Anti-Circle is actually original, but WBF have managed to pay homage to a style, an entire era really, without sounding stale. They’ve pulled out all the old tricks and genre clichés, but for some reason they don’t sound like a carbon copy, and that’s no easy feat. All the guys involved in this project obviously live, breath and love this music, and that’s why they’ve been successful with this project.
I want to take a moment to appreciate the song I’m Done. This song immediately took me back 15 years to my old city with my old friends, hanging out skating, getting into trouble and listening to punk records. It’s got everything you want from a melodic hardcore-punk song; off-beats, a bass solo, fast singing to melodic choruses, a little bit of screaming, the word ‘fuck’, palm mutes, a sick breakdown with guitar solo and a two step end. It’s even got guest vocals from Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits), I mean come on. I’m Done is the best song on an album that’s full of amazing songs.
If you’ve ever loved the lighter side of hardcore, if you’ve ever been into SoCal skate-punk, even if you’re a tough guy with a soft spot for melody; check out The Anti-Circle. And if you’re reading this and have never heard of any of the bands or genres i’ve talked about; go listen to this right now, it might just make you smile.
The only gripe i’ve got about The Anti-Circle is that it’s 26 minutes feels way too short.
(9/10 Kane Power)