Antimob II LP
First off, this is one of the most beautiful long-playing records I have ever seen in my life. Housed in a case-bound hardcover book-style sleeve, the cover and interior art consists of breathtaking, evocative photos taken by the band and a photographer comrade during a trip to the island of Gyaros, a traditional place of exile which most recently housed a prison for leftists and other opponents of a series of right-wing governments, culminating in the Junta (or “Regime of the Colonels”) between 1948 and 1974. These images are centered on the now-abandoned prison, starting with sweeping vistas of the structure and its bleak surroundings and becoming increasingly more granular as they focus on the interior, ending on images of individual details, haunting shots of the now-impotent rubble and rusted barbed wire that once caged human beings. Packaging also includes a gorgeous booklet, postcards, and huge poster, all printed with the highest quality materials. The amount of care and thought that went in to the presentation of this album is absolutely staggering and that’s just the impression the record makes before you put it on the turntable! The album itself, several years in the making, shows an equal amount of care and craftsmanship. Their 2012 self-titled LP was a blinder, a sweeping album that flirted with epi-crust without falling into the cliches and patterns that label suggests. The core of that sound remains, but there are many more spices in the stew this time around. The low-end is very MOTÖRHEAD, with a filthy bass tone and hard-hitting, understated, and precise drumming worthy of the Philthy Animal himself. Japanese-style massive group choruses collide with raw NYHC breakdowns that bleed into rousing melodic solos that never become self-indulgent. Listening to this album very much recalls listening to the first TRAGEDY LP in 2000, it is so impactful and so tight and fully realized. I have never wanted to be able to read Greek more than I do looking at the lyrics and longing to grasp the full meaning behind these songs, but the passion and intensity are very clearly communicated, and I completely understand that this is a record by and for Greeks about a time and a place that shaped their modern lives. While this album was technically released very late last year, I have no hesitation in saying this is the first truly great punk record of the 2020s.