Baltimore punk rockers War On Women will be making their way to our stages as part of next years travelling Download Festival Australia. Kicking in the doors of the scene in 2015, War On Women wasted no time unleashing their wild ruskus on the industry, screaming bloody equality to packed venues. The band has taken a firm pro-feminist stance and doesn’t simply sit at the back of the class and heckle, Instead, War On Women jump on top of the tables, fill their songs with stirring, jarring and hard to swallow truths that quite simply need to be shouted in the face of humanity.
Ahead of the arrival, we take a look at some of the most punk rock moments from the bands rough and tumble catalogue. If you don’t get keen for a sweaty mosh after reading these, then you better see a doctor.
1. “If we don't love, If we don't sing / Then we have given up / Everything”
To the uninitiated, love and singing may not have a whole lot to do with Punk Rock, but for the initiated, we know that love and singing is the best part of punk rock. For the title track off their latest album, War On Women make a point of, well, making points! 'Capture The Flag' might be a hard hitting metaphor for the to-and fro of the culture wars, but that doesn’t mean we have to get bogged down in political rhetoric to enjoy it. The song reaches through the speakers, grabs your head and shouts in your face to love more, to sing more, or else. And who are we to argue?
2. “Even objects get mad / Done up like a painted bird / It’s a self-imposed Stockholm Syndrome / And when I apply my fave lipstick is it for me or for your dick?”
For the 2015 track ‘Meathead’, War On Women did very little to hide their intentions, and for that we thank them. Using the sonic energy of a hurricane, the band attack the sensitive subject matter with a sack of bricks. Championed by furious shouts and gnarls, 'Meathead' taking aim at the social trope that woman should adhere to beauty standards, and firing for a perfect headshot at the patriarchy.
'Meathead' breaks out into an almost protest-like medley that truly highlights some of the more curious aspect of the topic giving you some serious food for thought while you head bang along; a stable of anything War On Women release.
3. “Grip, Hammer, Trigger, Cylinder, Barrel, Muzzle, Bullet, Killer Shoot. Kill. Because you had a crush on a girl”
‘Lone Wolves’ is one of the most striking moments on Capture The Flag, and the fact the band picked it to kick off the album says a lot. Exploding with some unique punk rock Chaos, 'Lone Wolves' gives the listener few, if any, moments to catch their breathe but it’s all part of the plan. Discussing the rise of ‘lone wolf’ style attacks, War On Woman use the song as an opportunity to categorically and methodically list the steps involved in firing a gun, in a way that’s as cold as the person pulling the trigger, with each word punctuated with a percussive punch right in the kisser. These are the perfect conditions for stirring singalongs in a live setting so cross everything in the hopes it will make it onto their Download live set.
4. “You can’t see the allies for the trees. You wanna get every man on his knees.”
‘Second Wave Goodbye’ was another heavy hitter from the group’s 2015 record. Lyrically, the song explores themes associated with the ‘Second wave of feminism’ but leaves plenty of room fresh and even fun, hot takes on the topic. To portray a hypothetical conversation, War On Woman remove the punk, if only for a moment to demonstrate some of the double-standards discussed in the song; and it’s super effective - the calm before the punk rock storm of the rest of the song. Combining the sickly sweet with the aggressive, 'Second Wave Goodbye' is one of the most eclectic moments from the bands self-titled album, and what keeps War On Women heads and shoulders above their so-called peers.
5. “Fuck your personal anecdotes about women making more than you”
This is a personal favourite home truth from War On Women from a personal favourite track. Obviously, the song is addressing a fairly volatile topic - Forget the glass ceiling, ‘Glass City’ suggests the whole damn system is merely a tease for working women, but the band handle it sans cotton gloves. The song is aggressive and straight up threatening with it’s punk rock potency. The wall of distortion makes way for some slick riffage, only adding to the tension of the song which at one point descends into pure madness. The song ends as suddenly as it started, leaving the listener in some pretty stunning silence to ponder, though rest assured, in a live setting there will be no stopping and pondering.
War On Women may not have been the first to marry anti-establishment language with an aggressive song bed, this is how Punk Rock’s been done since the dawn of time. But, as Darryl Kerrigan it might just be Punk Rock, but it’s what they do with it.
See it for yourself at Download. Check out all the ticket options available here.
Written by Mike Hohnen - A Music journalist who isn't just good...he's good enough