Reviewed by Meghan Player
I’ve been throwing around the words “anticipated release” a lot lately. Four months into the year, and already I’ve used/heard the terms a few too many times – often associating them with releases that ended up being a “mediocre release” at best. For lack of a better word, I actually was “anticipating” this release. Why? Because I knew it would be killer. Anyone who knows me will know about my love of Scandinavian bands, and Swedish punks AC4 are no exception.
When your band is fronted by legendary Refused vocalist, Dennis Lyxzén – you’re pretty much already onto a good thing. Backing it up with three talented dudes who actually know the meaning of punk and not the watered-down version we’ve been drip-fed, then you’re close to perfection. But this is when it gets interesting, AC4 aren’t Refused. Don’t sound like Refused. Will never be Refused. AC4 are their own entity, their own voice, their own attitude. End of story.
‘Burn The World‘ is the bands second LP, and pretty much picks up where their self-titled debut left off – gritty, fast-paced, hardcore punk that invokes the same response I had when I heard Black Flag or the Stooges for the first time. Sheer, utter, bliss. Kicking off with ‘Curva’, the album blisters it way through 16 songs in 30 minutes. While that might seem a long time for a punk band, on the contrary, it’s not nearly enough. ‘Who’s The Enemy?‘, ‘All Talked Out’ and ‘Morality Match‘ blow the hardcore punk roof off, demolishing my speakers and hearing in the process
The 35-second noise explosion of ‘Don’t Belong‘ makes way for the, dare I say it, infectious anthem of ‘Diplomacy Is Dead‘ – a track baited with true punk ethos. “Diplomacy is dead. We shot it in the head, now diplomacy lies dead..” screams Lyxzén before offering “…Fear the imaginary, fear the outside threat. Our power’s our ability to fake that we protect…” – this is the kind of lyricism punk today has been missing.
‘Breakout‘ is personal highlight of the album – a frenzy of distorted noise that would make any mosh pit, “bust wide open”. The chorus and bridge breakdown throughout the track drums up images of the Clash, complete with subsequent gang-vocals yelling ‘…here we are looking for the breakout...”.
It’s by the time ‘Extraordinary Rendition‘ rolls around that you almost feel the need to spontaneously combust. The frenzied riffs keep coming, Lyxzéns vocals become more frantic, the sound and noise explosion magnifies ten fold. Album closers ‘Off The Hook‘ and ‘Left You Behind‘ continue what the rest of the album delivered – obliterating tracks that never seem to pause for breath.
Quite obviously, this is one impressive release from the Umeå hardcore punks. Delivering track after track of perfectly executed tunes, the album provides a powerful statement, an explosion of noise and a straight-up, no-bullshit honesty that makes me wonder why this scene ever went astray in the first place. AC4 are a band that demand your attention, pulverise you with noise and make you want to throw yourself around a room recklessly – and for that, I fucking thank them.