Album Review: Fight War, Not Wars, Destroy Power, Not People – Utilitarian

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“Fight War, Not Wars. Destroy Power, Not People,” released at the beginning of May, is the debut album from political extreme metal band Utilitarian. This three piece consists of Jon Crowder (vocals), Jon Addams (bass), and Amara Wears (guitar and drums). The title of the album alone, a nod to anarcho-punk band Crass, perfectly explains the content of the songs found inside. These 13 tracks are rightfully angry, and a statement from the band on Band camp announces that they are “donating 100% of album income to Shelter so they can continue their crucial work with homeless people in these messed up times. The more we raise, the more good we do. This is essential to our values as a band.” Not only do these songs sound good, they do good too.

“Fight War, Not Wars. Destroy Power, Not People” opens with a mess of voices all speaking atop one another. “Unaccountable” is nearly four minutes of calling out a fractured society. Crowder screams,

“Follow your orders 

Close up your borders 

Working for sponsors Humanity’s Cancer 

Masters of Free speech 

But only for elites Blood on their hands 

Fucking blood on their hands.” 

The lack of solidarity within communities creates a broken foundation, but those at the very top are the ones that have created a divide. Citizens need to come together to hold those in power accountable for the disorder they have made.

“Dismantle the presses 

Until they tell the truth 

Until society progresses 

Make them pay for what they do”

News outlets have full authority on what they present to their audiences, even when those things may not be factually accurate. This album came out on May 1st, 25 days before the murder of George Floyd. The lyrics eerily relate to the wave of false statements that came out after his horrible death; many reports on how Floyd died were intentionally false. Sadly, this is not a rare occurrence. The song closes with Crowder growling,

“Unaccountable 

You’re fucking unaccountable 

Society fractured 

Consent manufactured.”

The next track, “Greed Is A Hunger That Can Never Be Fed,” instantly throws you into a ring of blastbeats and furious shouts about what the market denies a fair and just society of. A capitalist society does little, if anything, for the ones working beneath it. 

“We can’t love each other and coexist 

Because that’s not what the market wants

We can’t feed and clothe our children 

Because that’s not what the market wants”

Marching To Your Own Grave” is an anti-war track. It begins with Wears’ incessant blaze of heavy-hitting beats. Crowder yells, 

“War drums are banging again on the TV 

Another martyr hung where the country can see 

Gone are the days when you were defending your family 

Now you’re killing a stranger to make someone wealthy.”

The war machine strips a person’s humanity away and shows them the way to their own freshly dug grave. Track four, “Hateful Generation,” is an upbeat whirlwind of high-powered beats and menacing riffs. The lyrics detail the ridiculousness of justifying the criminals that stoke hateful fires.

“‘that’s not what he means’

You patronise and claim 

When it’s time to step up 

Whitewash tyranny again”

A download of “Fight War, Not Wars. Destroy Power, Not People” comes with a small book containing the lyrics, the charities the band endorses, and a list of media the individual band members recommend. On the page that contains the lyrics for “Hateful Generation,” a person in the foreground flips off a white man doing the Nazi salute. “Profit or People” is a question of whether wealth is more important than lives (in case you’re confused, it’s not).

“Disaster capital 

Rake it in as innocents die

 It’s supply and demand 

Blood money changing hands”

The guitar riff on this track is wonderfully catchy and weaves itself around Crowder’s aggrieved shouts. The next track, “Wall of Debt,” calls out those that con people out of their dreams.

“You fucking liar 

Told us we could be anything 

Generation con 

Tried to sell us everything though it was never yours to give”

One of my favorite tracks off the album is the final song. Utilitarian does a terrifically heavy cover of Woody Guthrie’s “All You Fascists.” This song, written in the 1940s, still rings painfully relevant in 2020. 

“People of every color marching side by side 

Marching across these fields where a million fascists died 

You’re bound to lose 

You fascists are bound to lose”

The fight for social justice is a long and weary battle, but it must be won. “Fight War, Not Wars. Destroy Power, Not People” takes a stand against the horrors of humanity that should not be tolerated.

“I’m going into this battle take my union gun 

Gonna end this world of slavery before this war is won 

You’re bound to lose 

You fascists are bound to lose”

It is difficult to not want to move along to this album – it’s delightfully catchy, it’s powerfully angry, and its message is one that everyone deserves to hear. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world; this album can relate to endless amounts of injustices. Let it guide you to help others!

Some related educational reads: 

George Floyd’s Autopsy

Nigeria’s Police Brutality Crisis

Sohaila Abdulali’s Fight for Change

Museum of Tolerance by Michael Miller (poem)

Rating: 5/5

https://utilitarianband.bandcamp.com/album/fight-war-not-wars-destroy-power-not-people

https://www.facebook.com/utilitarianband/

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