View Reviews: Canadian punk rock pioneer Art Bergmann returns with a new album

What better way to usher in a new series of local music reviews than to check out Canadian punk rock icon and Rocky View County’s newest release from Art Bergmann?

What better way to usher in a new series of local music reviews than to check out Canadian punk rock icon and Rocky View County’s newest release from Art Bergmann?

Bergmann’s new eight-track album, released on May 21st by Weewerk Records, is a breath of fresh air in a time of ongoing uncertainty. Late Stage Empire Dementia, as the album is called, is also his first full-length album since The Apostate 2016.

For those unfamiliar with Bergmann’s work, he has been making waves in the Canadian music scene since the 1970s and first saw success with the band Young Canadians. Bergmann became an important figure in the alternative music scene in the 1980s and 1990s, winning the Juno Award for Best Alternative Rock Album in 1996.

He has no problems with his latest album and continues his anti-establishment stance on modern issues that society continues to face.

The album begins with the title “Entropy”. Bergmann’s lyrics are full of guitar sounds reminiscent of punk-rock-dominated times and take the listener to a distant place while he reveals his inner thoughts to the world.

When Bergmann was contacted to discuss his new album, he had few words to describe it but insisted that listeners should pay attention to the lyrics.

“All the words I wanted to say are there,” he said. ‚ÄúPeople should listen to them and think about them. Listen to it well. If you need a dictionary feel free. “

The follow-up track titled “Christo-Fascists” is about as rough and gruff as it gets musically, and I mean that as best as possible.

“Christofascists who do business with Nazis, put children in cages,” Bergmann sings during the chorus of the song and lets you immediately know what confrontational themes and meanings he is hiding behind his words.

The song deals with the disenfranchised and the hardships that many have previously gone through, and is aimed at the powers that be.

Continuing the political themes, the third track on the album – “Your Second Amendment” – offers a much slower and more acoustic note that covers the subject of gun control.

As the album goes on, Bergmann continues an intense and powerful display of incredible instrumentation, backed up by lyrics that will stay with you long after the album ends.

Tracks like “La Mort De L’ancien Regime” (French for “The Death of the Old Regime”) tell everything you need to know about the album, although recording everything Bergmann is saying is vital.

Overall, with titles like “Amphetamine Alberta”, the almost 10-minute self-titled “Late Stage Empire Dementia” and the rest of the album, an important work – regardless of whether they correspond to Bergmann’s anti-establishment beliefs or not.

In a time when so much is politically charged and polarized, it has never been more important to have artists like Bergmann who can draw a line in the sand and tell you where they stand.

It is important for the public discourse arena to be able to speak your mind and speak about the difficulties people face and will continue to face. There will certainly be some people who may not understand or disagree with Bergmann’s positions in his music, but he deserves to be heard along with everyone else.

Bergmann, who was called to the Canadian Order in late 2020, has returned with a vengeance. During a previous story I wrote about him for our sister newspaper Rocky View Weekly, he told me he wasn’t even sure he would find a label to release his new album on.

Punk rock lovers everywhere can look forward to such an honest, pure and intense effort by a legend of the genre.

Jordan Stricker,
Follow me on Twitter @Jay_Strickz