“All the earmarks of a damn good hardcore punk album are there: the tense drumbeats, the dissonant vibrato guitars, the screaming gang vocals. But with such an epic title, it’s easy to ask what this “old war” is (even easier still with the operations in Afghanistan now the longest war in U.S. history). The answer is more thoroughly provided just by looking at the song titles: “Bouncers and Cops,” “Keep Left,” “U.S. Out of the Amazon.”
Guitarist Alan Hague and vocalist Paul are the primary songwriting team for PfA, and both have a long history of radical organizing in their native Providence, R.I., and beyond. Back in 2008, Paul was among the 800 protesters arrested by overzealous cops at the Republican Convention in Minnesota. “Hope City Skyline,” off New Hymns, name-drops a litany of social justice groups: “Jobs With Justice, Youth In Action, End the Siege, SDS…ISO, Food Not Bombs, 2:1, Marriage Rights, WIL, IWW, What Cheer? Mobilize…”
-The Socialist Worker
Prayers for Atheists follow up their 2009 debut EP with a full-length punk scorcher, New Hymns for an Old War (May 10 on their PFA Records imprint), providing plenty of wake-the-fuck-up diatribes from two knowledgeable, highly proactive rabble-rousers, guitarist Alan Hague and vocalist Jared Paul (bassist Matt Gilroy and drummer Marco Aveledo round out the quartet). No one is exempt from PFA’s shitlist, and this country continues to offer plenty of fuel for the band’s politically-charged firestorm of topics.
Spoken word/poetry slam veteran Paul was raised in Providence and later moved to Manville. He initially entered the political arena during his time at Lincoln High School, where he was student council president and worked with the lieutenant governor as part of the RI Boys State Congress in his junior year. Or, as Paul put it, “Just playtime at mock two-party system training ground bullshit.”
-The Providence Phoenix