Active Minds – Religion is Nonsense
"I don’t care what your invisible friend has to say. Religion is fucking nonsense."
Active Minds were formed in Scarborough, UK in early 1986. This raging duo of two brothers, Set and Bobs, has been around for 33 years now (the age of Christ, lol) without a break, always pushing the envelope with an unapologetic lyrical approach to the pressing issues of the day, a relentless do-it-yourself ethic, and endless socio-political commentaries/essays found inside the sleeves of their records.
I grew up listening to Active Minds, and yet they still manage to surprise me with their new releases. In 2017 they released their 9th full-length, The Age of Mass Distraction, which tackled the destructive economic system we live in and how the masses are still being distracted and herded like sheep while injustice, greed, and war are all around us. Religion is Nonsense features twelve new songs that are still Active Minds to the bone. The cover artwork, depicting the main character from Monthy Python’s “Life of Brian”, is not only hilarious, but fucking amazing! They even have a screen-printed image of Brian on a piece of cloth (their version of the Shroud of Turin, I guess) inside the record sleeve.
Musically, Active Minds still cling to their classic take on ’80s thrash and hardcore punk tropes (Electro Hippies, Discharge, Extreme Noise Terror, and Sore Throat, to name a few). The drumming is a relentless barrage of thrashing punk attacks, and the riffs are fuzzed out and furious, with lots of feedback noise going off in all directions. Most of the tracks fly by pretty quickly, especially the 11-second title track “Religion is Nonsense”.
I don’t care what your invisible friend has to say. Religion is fucking nonsense.
However, this is not a record where everything sounds the same at such a frenetic, breakneck pace. There are actually four pretty melodic songs on here that go over the three minute mark. On these tracks, the Scarborough thrashers sound more like Leatherface or Petrograd, but that’s nothing new when you look at their impressive discography.
Lyrically, organized religion is the target of Active Minds’ disdain for many reasons, and we all know where that comes from. But don’t take this record as just another anti-religious manifesto. They also give nationalism, xenophobia, and tough-guy mentality a well-deserved bashing, and are deeply concerned about today’s youth being robbed of their innocence and hope for a better future by street gang violence, social media bullying, and the use of antidepressants to cope with the fucked-up system they are forced to grow up in.
Yes, it may sound like we’re living in the midst of a nightmare, but the last two songs—”A Vision of The Future” and “Life is A Political Action”—are actually filled with heaps of hope and rallying cries for action. Because Active Minds have always been about being active. Think. Act. Smash to fuck the fuckin’ system. (Well, the last one was actually Discharge, amirite?)