The mind works in mysterious ways. Why else would I confuse these
guys with pop-punkers Rise Against time and time again? Alright, two
words in both bandnames, a notion of revolt and an R at the beginning –
but come on, mind. There are lightyears between a pubescent urge to wear
Converse sneakers (shoes are boring) and the unfiltered rage on display
at Raised Fist’s.
Starting things off with “Get this right!”, the band prove right
away that they understand the meaning of an exclamation mark. From the
get-go all through the first minute, we basically get a neck and neck
race between the drums and Mr. Hagman’s frantic vocals. “No holds
barred” is a term specifically invented for this exact minute (look it
up) and large parts of the remaining album as well.
Now, since the vocals have already been mentioned: they will be a
decisive factor in whether you’ll enjoy this album or not. First of all
because, well, listen for yourself. That tone isn’t exactly typical to
metal-trained ears. Completely gimmickless in delivery, Hagman just
screams his fucken lungs out as loudly and/or fast as possible. Even the
midtempo numbers sound intense as Hell thanks to the guy. Secondly, the
rest of the album is as close to metal as a hardcore album can become
if it completely neglects double-bass and blast beats. Apart from this
and the lack of solos, “Dedication” has what a metalhead can ask for:
non-stop aggression, fuzzy bass, high speed, palm-muted shredding,
stomping choruses, sawing, Swedish-sounding guitars… you name it really.
It all is arranged into mostly short bursts of full-frontal rage
whose most intricate element are start/stop guitar patterns inserted
into the vicious riffing barrage. It takes until the second-to-last song
that an acoustic passage breaks the circle of speed and brutality, but
just to remind me that intensity is the name of the game here, the
closing track adds another vocalist (Gustav Jorde of Defleshed) to add
even more metal to the mix. I get it guys, I get it: no more mix-ups
with Rise Against!