Common Enemy: As the World Burns

It’s amazing bands like this still exist, it really is.  It makes some of us realize how old we really are, that dreadful feeling of “been there done that” about a million times, the “heard it all” sensation, the “back in my day” sensation, also the “why does this still go on and when will it stop” sensation.  Strange thing is, these guys have been around for about that long, since roughly 1998 if we want to talk a little history.  Actually, talking history some more, that’s way far off the original punk and thrash  fringe timeline, but for a more modern band, it’s an isolating experience for the listener, if they’re wise enough.  What do we mean?  It’s simple, when you get older and you’ve heard and listened to about every type of music you can think of, it’s hard to be surprised by much, but you at least enjoy when bands try to do something new, otherwise you realize your age.  You don’t just realize it, though, you sink into your age and feel it, you suddenly get this impression you’re surrounded by people still talking about things that died decades ago, as they slowly wither away until, on their death beds it hits them.  You feel like you’re somehow the only one who realizes it, but you keep playing the role of “punk” or “thrash” like a living statue, sickened to your innards as you continue to act as you should, to follow the definition, when you don’t feel a lick of it anymore.  Should we sit back and say all is well and good in the world of music of this variety?  Should we allow it to bind us and shackle our opinion to stay in the favor of some of our readers?  Not for us, and not today.


Common Enemy come from Reading, PA and they seem like an hardworking group of guys; that DIY attitude that’s thrown around today like the word “good”.  They like skateboards, weed, and singing about politics.  And they apparently have been doing it now for almost twenty years.  Honestly, they seem like good guys, please don’t misunderstand, but one has the impression they’re perhaps a bit out of touch with better punk and thrash over the past decade.  As the World Burns sounds like it perished in the same fire.  It’s an ironic suggestion the band is somehow stepping forward while leaving everything burning in their wake, because really in terms of musical content it’s completely the other way around, they’re just not aware of it.  Some of the lyrics make it seem like they are, when they scream “forced into the corner, repressed to f****ing change”, they mean it, they’re just not listening to you.  They refuse to be force fed ideas and dogma, to paraphrase, but at the same time they’re happy in spouting the most typical of punk/thrash psychospeak ever envisioned.  As a thrash/punk crossover, Common Enemy has a bit more punk to them than thrash.  But it’s good they mention thrash, because thrash revival has been going on awhile and it’s very clear what that’s about; sounding old and not caring much about it.  Somehow, that can work for thrash, but for punk, it’s the opposite effect.  The chords are 4/4 all the way, the singing rally-cries itself to sleep at night, and the themes are fresh.  About as fresh as a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos from 1985 you find sitting in the basement.  You say, “aw yeah, I remember these” and when you open the bag you take a whiff and realize, yeah, these are probably too old.


So it’s amazing.  It’s amazing how “to the format” these guys stick.  If you’ve heard punk/thrash crossover before, there is absolutely nothing new to be found here.  You can practically guess every phrase, chorus, and verse ten minutes before it even appears, and the whole album is running through your head before you’ve listened to it once.  And the naivete, oh yes the naivete!!!!  How is it possible anyone could sing about political change today and be serious about it with this kind of image?  It sounds like a teenager who just discovered Marx for the first time, read a synopsis of Das Kapital, and then summarized it for themselves for polite dinner conversation.  Suggesting some worker revolution to overthrow the evil, Capitalist pigs who control production while previously singing “All I Want for Christmas is a Bag of Weed” whilst skateboarding until you lack the physical ability to do so, via old age, is depressing.  It’s even more depressing this particular lyrical content is provided once via spoken-word over the usual slow, thrash breakdown.  Really?  People are still doing this kind of thing?  Common Enemy rally cries for “kids” (direct quote) to gather up for war to bring about change.  Like, there’s absolutely no way you can be serious about that today, you guys are joking right, right?  As the World Burns is too naive of an approach to either punk or thrash to take much notice.  If you don’t mind things classic to the point of stinking of stale, have at it, the Bandcamp link below has the whole album for free, so you can listen to it without paying on your iPhones or Androids, which most of you likely have and they probably forget that fact too.  In an age where it’s all been done, there are times you can be retro and welcome, and times when it’s depressing and you make us want to hide under the sheets and wish it all away as a dream.  There’s enough variety here for a listen, and you probably won’t mind most of it, but you won’t be surprised, not in the slightest, and if you’re the type who’s still riding skateboards while your wife is in the house taking care of the kid, it might be time to reevaluate things.


Common Enemy Official Facebook

As the World Burns on Bandcamp

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Common Enemy: As the World Burns
Overdose on Records
3 / 5