Hardcore punk comes in many flavours and intensities but Swedish band Victims since their formation in 1997 has only ever done it one way, with honesty, ferociousness and unashamed directness. Like sticking your head in a blender your senses are stripped away, ripped up and used to flail all other genres than handed back with a dose of bile when exposed to their sound. In the fourteen years up to the release of their new album “A Dissident”, despite line-up changes, dramas, tragedies, and working tirelessly with gigs and tours, their energy and single mindedness regarding their sound has never faltered. The new release is no exception and actually takes things further with a fresher feel than ever before.
The album opens with an atmospheric intro on ‘Theft’, making one wonder if there is something radical change wise happening, but then metal guitar crashes strike up and we get blasted with some trademark Victims punk thrash. Driving and pounding drums from Andy Henriksson force the pace as bassist and vocalist Johan Eriksson drops a bassline to die for.
A feature of the band I especially enjoy is the great and addictive bass sounds and riffs Eriksson delivers whilst screaming his head off with venom. It creates a striking contrast with the tight control of his bass playing up against his frantic and loose vocals. Every track on the release has an attack which is hard, fast, and creative and is filled with compulsive rifts and striking melodies and hook lines from the guitars of Jon Lindqvist and Gareth Smith pacing around the merciless rhythm surges.
‘In Control’ leaps out from the pack as it goes for the throat, being a glorious slice of punk with everything at its best, riffs, hooks, and punk choruses. Joining this we have ‘We Are Not The Future’, ‘Lifetaker’, and ‘Broken Bones’ forming a continuous trio of tracks mid album that also vies for best track on the album. All four are classic, anthem like, punk that sticks with the listener long after they depart. Surging riffs, basslines and memorable individual parts that elevate the tracks above what essentially are all great songs filling the release.
It is worth grabbing “A Dissident” for that quartet alone but Victims never deal in fillers and the thirteen tracks enclosed all deliver. From those mentioned to the thrash sounds of tracks like ‘Nowhere In Time’ to the out and out punk of ‘Ignorence Is Bliss’ and yes, it is spelt that way in case you wondered, each stab of sound is one that raises the blood pressure and quickens the pulse. Final track, ‘Waiting For Shadows’, is worth a mention too with a cool pop punk intro that has you slightly surprised, though it is pretty cool, but it does not take long for the band to erupt into typical Victims style mayhem.
With a sound that is from the same heart that drives the likes of Discharge, Agnostic Front, Ritam Nereda, and Municipal Waste, the Swedes with “A Dissident” lead the way and will inspire many more who follow. The album is required listening for all who desire fast, compact, feral and unforgiving punk, Victims the band that always delivers. “A Dissident” is out now on Tank Crimes for more details, hit the band’s official website.