Animal Flag: Redefining what it Means to be a Rock Band

PHOTO: Nick DiNatale

by Quentin Singer

The modern alternative rock scene, also known as “emo-rock,” has been home to some great records, but also tremendously controversial over the past year. The scene has a rapidly growing issue of sexual misconduct and assault, with a plethora of bands being forced to call it quits after allegations made against one or more members. One of the most recent allegations surrounded Cam Boucher, frontman of the band Sorority Noise. These allegations resulted in the band ending their European tour and calling for an indefinite hiatus. In the wake of all of this controversy, the Boston-based band Animal Flag released their brand new LP entitled Void Ripper.

PHOTO: The Prelude Press

Unfortunately, the band’s record was set to be released on Flower Girl Records, a label associated with Cam Boucher. Having just toured with Sorority Noise prior to the allegations, Animal Flag wanted nothing to do with Cam Boucher and went as far as canceling the release of their album through Flower Girl Records, opting instead for a release directly through Triple Crown Records. Animal Flag made a very conscious decision to assure their fanbase that they combat sexual misconduct behavior, and that none of the money toward their new LP would go to anyone associated with such behavior (Cam Boucher and Flower Girl Records). Better yet, the band would donate all the money from their album release show to Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC).

Animal Flag took nearly four years to write and record Void Ripper, making for one spectacle of a release show this past weekend at Democracy Center. Based off of the quality of their Audiotree performance, and having won Boston rock artists of the year (2017), my expectations for the show were undoubtedly high. Leaving the venue that night I got even more than what I expected from the band’s performance. Each and every song had a thunderous impact of emotion, driving home the sensation of what it feels like to be at a rock show. I could tell I was in for a night of loud and true rock music, just based off of the constant ear plug reminders the band had issued prior to their set, and boy were they necessary.

The band’s set included several songs off their new record Void Ripper, with some older fan favorites here and there, but for the most part I felt Animal Flag was in their element playing their newer material. There was just an unexplainable energy and aura that engulfed the band when they played songs off of Void Ripper. The sound seemed defined and present from these songs more so than other releases, almost as if the band’s true sound stems from their latest LP. While I could go on about nearly every song that night, the most powerful and poignant song of the night was “Fair.” From its ferocious start to its loud climactic end, this song embodies Animal Flag’s style and the original rock music they’re capable of writing.

I left the show that evening amped and excited for the future of this particular band, but also the rock genre as a whole. Animal Flag breathed new life and meaning into the genre, and with the recent release of their long awaited album, one can only hope the band gets the success they deserve. Oh, and for Berklee rock students looking for motivation/inspiration, these dudes all met at Berklee, so keep doing what you’re doing people!

Have you seen or heard of Animal Flag? If so, what do you think of their latest LP Void Ripper? Let us know in the comments!