New Orleans, Louisiana…in the year of our dog, 2006. Hurricane Katrina wages a relentless and deadly war against the unsuspecting citizens of the grand and historic city, leaving a devastating mark not to be forgotten. Eyehategod’s Mike IX Williams faced the loss of his material possessions and transplanted himself into a spare apartment belonging to Pantera’s Philip H. Anselmo. There, the two veterans of the NOLA metal scene would dive into Anselmo’s collection of early hardcore records. In time, the duo began exchanging ideas with the one and only hillbilly himself, Hank Williams III, and Colin Yeo, creating an unyielding rage meant to reintroduce the lost art of deafening amplification and gritty, in-your-fucking-face-without-a-care ideals pioneered by bands like Poison Idea and Discharge. Extending a blood-stained middle finger toward the norms of today’s mainstream society, Arson Anthem pulled the pin with their self-titled debut EP in 2008 and have now issued their first full-length war declaration.
With Insecurity Notoriety (Housecore Records), Arson Anthem have created a raw, low-fi, middle-finger-in-the-face-of-the-world monster of snotty punk-fueled dissonance. Williams rails against the endless injustices of society, maintaining a glaringly in-your-face attitude throughout the record, albeit a bit more decipherable than his approach with Eyehategod. Hank III, Anselmo and Yeo accommodate the frantic riot nicely with thrashy speed riffs, lightning-fast percussion of the early hardcore persuasion and enough gang vocals to get your fist banging up a storm. The songs found here simply explode with a raging nod to the heyday of hardcore punk. Think of what would result from bands like Negative Approach and Hellhammer being dismembered, scrambled, sewn back together and shocked back to life as an all new violent abomination.
Songs like “Isolation Militia”, “Pretty Like That” and “If You Heard This (You Would Hit Me)” overflow with a volatile formula that urges crusty punks everywhere to rail against The Man with all they’ve got within them. “Has Been, Had Been” points the finger at those who live weak, wasted lives of complacency with no balls or backbone to call their own. “Primate Envy” is full of thrash aggression and passages containing an almost black metal vibe in the guitar and percussion. “Codependent and Busted” continues that mind-fuck, stepping up the speed to breakneck level and throws in some groove for good measure. For most of the record, the songs clock in at around a minute, with the exception being album closer, “Teach the Gun (To Love the Bullet)”, which reaches damn near four minutes, starts off at the slowest pace found here with spoken vocals that erupt into madness with the point-blank statement that “the holy order…is disorder!”
Arson Anthem have thrown their own bloody brick through the window of Mainstream Headquarters with this one! While favoring the sound of early hardcore punk pioneers over any of the trends plaguing the more extreme side of music today, Insecurity Notoriety is a harsh, reckless battering ram right through the door of what the world’s so-called “normal” people view as musically safe. The band’s new effort doesn’t exactly reinvent the proverbial wheel, but tears down the walls just the same. A word to the wise, let this be your warning. Arson Anthem has just lit the fuse. Take cover if you wish, but don’t dare touch that volume knob!