Art Bergmann is back, and better than ever

Art Bergmann is on a roll.

Fresh off his appointment to the Order of Canada, the former K-Tels/Young Canadians frontman is set to release his first studio album in five years.

Late Stage Empire Dementia, an eight-song collection on Toronto’s (weewerk) label, contains some of Bergmann’s best-ever work.

Written between 2016 to 2020, the music ranges from punchy to poignant, from raw to refined.

In a news release, Bergmann said the album is “a reflection of what’s occurred over the past four years in terms of the masks of fascism being stripped off.”

“These songs say, here it is folks, your history is right in front of you and these are the reasons why,” he said. “Since the advent of social media, and with cameras everywhere, everybody now knows about police killings, the plague and climate catastrophe, and who these purveyors of this nightmare are.”

The track “Christo Fascists” is a searing, no-holds-barred assault on religious fanaticism, bigotry, police brutality and colonialism. Aided by the guitar wizardry of MC5’s Wayne Kramer, Bergmann soars and inspires on this instant anti-fascist rock classic.

The newly released single “Entropy” is no less angry, but far more haunting. Reflecting on the plight of Syrian refugees, Bergmann conjures the memory of Alan Kurdi, the 3-year-old boy whose lifeless body was photographed face-down on a beach in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015.

Closer to home, the Alberta-based Bergmann skewers premier Jason “KKK Kenney” and his ilk in the rollicking tune “Amphetamine Alberta.”

Crowdfunded by nearly 200 supporters (including the author of this review), Late Stage Empire Dementia exceeds even the most optimistic fan’s expectations.

Set for release May 21, this important collection of songs deserves to be heard far and wide.

(Photo: David Kotsibie)