Political music has always been a thorny beast, a style that perpetually borders on didactic preachiness, as acts from Woody Guthrie to Billy Bragg and Rage Against the Machine have all discovered in their time. The only way to avoid this danger is to skirt the topic elliptically, as in Thom Yorke’s “Harrowdown Hill”, to pluck out a random example. The aptly named Anarchy Reigns, for better or worse, instead cut straight to the chase, with “Liars” stating immediately and emphatically that Tony Blair and George Bush should be prosecuted as war criminals.
Regardless of whether or not you think this would be justified, it’s difficult to deny that Anarchy Reigns lack particularly scintillating political insight when it comes to this topic. Although in fairness it’s nigh-on impossible to cram all the nuances of such a sprawling geopolitical debate into 4:40 of chugging riffs, “Liars” is a hopelessly general piece of sloganeering vaguely deriding “promises made but never kept” and that “money’s what you want”, over numbingly predictable low-resolution images of burning oilfields and placard-waving protestors in the video.
On this basis, “Liars” stands or falls on its music, a thudding mass of stocky hard rock falling somewhere Alice in Chains and Judas Priest. Competently played and produced, Anarchy Reigns’ name nonetheless contrasts sharply with their musical conservatism as they blithely skim the book of rockisms, from Iron Maiden-esque harmonised guitars to the blasted power chords of the chorus, and even a squealing shred solo towards the end. A political diatribe as almost antagonistically unremarkable as it sounds. CO
Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPpwB8LNPCs