Nations Afire - The Ghosts We Will Become
Let us not kid ourselves, the title of this record makes you not want to listen to it, right? It suggests either cliche or anachronism. And, in essence, this is quite a retrospective sound punk rock/melodic hardcore band, formed by members of Ignite and Death By Stereo and featuring the old guitarist of Rise Against. The band tend to sound not entirely unlike those sacred bands of around the turn of the millennium - think Hopeless Records, think Face To Face, think Bigwig and you can imagine where Nations Afire are coming from.
The band have had a 5 song EP floating around for a while - The Uprising - which suggested a band of promise, but surfaced 3 or 4 years ago and the assumption of many seemed to be that this was a brief supergroup outing that was destined to be a one off. I was surprised as anyone to see the band have re-emerged with a full length and a tour sandwiched in between tours for parent bands Ignite and Death By Stereo. In truth this album bears only minor similarities to either of those bands - The Ghosts We Will Become most reminds me of slightly obscure US band Near Miss, or the more recent moments of
the late Tony Sly's career.
What the band can do is write a catchy tune - you would be forgiven from a first listen of thinking the album is pretty much all chorus. But they also add a kind of college ideal of bands like Farside - as is evident in a song called In Absentia. There are brief glimpses of the slightly more melancholic elements that make Ignite and Rise Against such superior bands - stand out track Occams Razor hits that particular nail squarely on the head. It is only during the most saccharine sweet moments that this album tends to lose me - it is at these points that Nations Afire sound like they grabbed hold of the moments of punk rock that history has, quite deliberately, left behind.
I get the impression that the majority of listeners to this band will neither be surprised or disappointed by this record, because they know it will sound like the bands they love have put out a stop gap record, or fielded their B team. It's there or there abouts, without blowing your mind in the way all of the bands the various members have come from can.