Raised Fist – Veil of Ignorance

By paul

And so the return of one of the most distinctive sounding bands in hardcore, Sweden’s Raised Fist. And I’m glad to have got my hands on a review copy of this new record.

Let me start this review with a disclaimer. I’m not a believer in giving 5/5 reviews unless an album really is astonishingly amazing. And, of the tiny, miniscule handful I have given, ‘Sound of The Republic’, Raised Fist‘s last album, was one. On that record, the band had managed to mix melody and subtlety with their trademark brutality to make a record that was equal parts hardcore and metal. And it was pretty damn special. I mean like everyone who vaguely likes hardcore should own 2 copies.

So, this is the difficult follow up. And, I think the main thing to say is it’s a fucking good record. It has that trademark sign of being useful – the first time I heard it I thought it was pretty average, then the hooks grow and it’s turned into a very fine, intricate piece. It’s probably going to disappoint a lot of old school RF fans who loved the blast beats and brutality of ‘Dedications’ and the older material. There isn’t much speedy, intense stuff on here. Nor has it gone down the metal route. It’s what I’d describe as Raised Fist‘s attempt at a punk record. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense. But that’s what it sounds like to me.

There is tons of melody. Still the same angsty lyrics, spat out by maybe the most distinctive man in hardcore, Alexander Hagman, but there is even the odd sung line. The drums still hit you like a thumping headache, but the slow numbers – particularly a track called ‘wounds’ – mix it up too. There are a lot of dynamics to this record and I think it’s all the better for it.

It’s not quite as perfect as ‘Sound of The Republic.’ An instrumental to finish the album seems a little like a half finished piece – and a couple of the tunes don’t quite keep the standard up all the way through. But, still, there are some classics on here (‘City of Gold’ is about as good a tune as they’ve ever written) and it’s a fine addition to the back catalogue – proof again that hardcore can be redefined when a fine band feels like giving the task a go.

Mike

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