Produced by Russell Broom and Art Bergmann
Songs by Art Bergmann (MAPL/SOCAN)
Mixed by Russell Broom
“Art Bergmann is Canada’s most important trouble-maker, and that is evidenced on Late Stage Empire Dementia. It covers all of the bases of what I consider essential to his work: unapologetic political confrontation; deep insight and meditation on the grave injustices of humanity; a distinct, antagonizing, inimitable and cutting voice; and most of all, masterful lyrics set against great rock hooks. He is the real deal, and the mere fact that he has weathered the storm, and come out on the other side with important things to say, deserves our attention. There is so much more to unpack here, so suffice to say, the deeper you get into this work, the more insightful and rewarding it becomes. A classic.”
Tony Dekker, Great Lake Swimmers
As one of Canadian punk rock’s foundational artists, Art Bergmann remains an unflinching social critic on Late Stage Empire Dementia. Its eight songs sonically run the gamut from the jagged, speaker-shredding rock he’s long been known for, to the experimental, acoustic-based soundscapes he introduced on his 2016 Polaris Music Prize long-listed album The Apostate. Lyrically, Bergmann takes aim at political corruption, the dual unchecked epidemics of guns and drugs, and the plight of refugees yearning for a better life.
Late Stage Empire Dementia was recorded throughout 2020, with basic tracks laid down in Calgary at Lorrie Matheson’s studio Arch Audio and most other tracks completed at Russell Broom’s studio, Broom Closet. Although Broom and longtime Neko Case collaborator Paul Rigby handle the bulk of the guitar playing, the song “Christo-Fascists” features a rare guest appearance by legendary MC5 co-founder Wayne Kramer, whose trademark buzzsaw tone remains as potent as ever.
Yet, for each great example of politically charged rock on Late Stage Empire Dementia, such as the previous single “Entropy,” there is an expansive, hypnotic piece like “Los Desaparecidos (Border Art)” or the nearly 10-minute title track that further illuminates Art’s evolution as a songwriter—completely unafraid to enter uncharted territory. It is that bravery that makes Art Bergmann’s voice as important as ever, and places Late Stage Empire Dementia easily among his finest works.