Raised Fist Ignoring the Guidelines

It's rare these days that a hardcore band can still excite me and sound fresh and honest, as it's a genre overpopulated with tired, tired bands and phony posturing. Raised Fist, from Sweden, is here to change that, delivering 11 raging hardcore songs in a mere 27 minutes. Power in brevity, I'm seeing more of that lately and I approve. Here it works amazingly, and coupled with a brutally perfect production sound, courtesy of Daniel Berstand (Meshuggah, Machine Head), that is so clear, yet so heavy, and so damn big, the overall effect is one of successfully harnessed and sincere energy. The songs are catchy, fast and short, and really get the old blood pumping like the greats (Minor Threat, or, more recently, Assfactor 4). An occasional breakdown/build-up threatens a slight fromage factor, but you'll be moshing around your room by that point anyway and it will sound just fine. The lyrics are all positive and angry, and not layered underneath metaphor after metaphor; it's all pretty open: "I'm not better than you and you're not better than me" screams their singer in one of the several unforgettable moments on this CD. It even looks nice, the simple yet modern layout of the booklet suiting their simple yet modern take on. These fellows will be touring across Canada in February, don't miss out. (Burning Heart)