Written by Mark Jones
When news broke of a new Arch Rivals album I was excited and intrigued to see the progress the band has made and if they could top their brilliant debut album ‘One More Round’. Well after a few listens of ‘A Constant State Of War’ I can tell you that the band have outdone themselves and have given us 12 new streetpunk and Oi! anthems for the working class that are packed full of energy that anyone has seen them live will know what they are capable of.
The first thing that strikes me about ‘A Constant State Of War’ is that the band bring a harder sound than on their debut yet still remaining melodic and incredibly catchy. The album gets off to a great start with ‘Nothing To Prove’ and the menacing ‘Black & Blue’ both excellent hard hitting tracks that I just can’t wait to hear in a live environment. Next up is ‘Arch Rivals’, one of the two songs off last years ‘Outlaws’ single and tells us all what this band is all about with the lyric “ Arch Rivals working class is in my soul, Arch Rivals streetpunk, skinhead, rock ‘n’ roll” and is a song I never tire of listening to.
The band’s ska influence is all over ‘Invisible City’ before the excellent ‘Here We Go Again’ kicks in, and if the album ended here I would still be a happy man but things just get better with the incredible ‘One Day’, a melodic gem of a song with well written lyrics that are delivered brilliantly by Mike. The title track is next up which is full of short sharp riffs and is a proper foot stomper which is followed by the excellent ‘Outlaws’, the second track from last years 7” single.
There is no bad song on this album and it’s incredibly hard to pick a favourite but if I had to it would be ‘The Struggle’, a melodic song with a brilliant chorus about the struggle of the working classes which we can all identify with. As the album comes to a close the anthems keep on coming with the ‘Wear Your Scars With Pride’, ‘Ripped Jeans’ and the excellent ‘Once A Soldier’, an incredible song with a chorus that you just can’t help singing along to and is a fitting finale to this outstanding album.
Arch Rivals have given us 41 minuets of classic streetpunk and Oi! anthems that I’ve had on repeat for the last few days and will no doubt will be on my stereo for some time to come. Without doubt ‘A Constant State Of War’ is my album of the year so far.