“I am positively, absolutely sure that a lot of you are going to HATE this,” says the disembodied voice that opens Systemik Viølence’s new EP…
Oh, but I disagree…
Label: Raw N Roll Rex.
“Rise up and think for yourself / don’t be like everyone else,” vocalist Iggy Musashi screams during “Male Dumbinance.” It’s the age old punk sentiment, still as true today as it’s always been, and yet, though we’ve heard it all before, when it’s presented with such conviction, it’s nearly impossible to resist. Systemik Viølence’s self-described “Satanarkist attack” is sloppy, ragged, and glorious – the stated aim of the band is to bring back the threat in punk rock, to blend the ear-shredding rawness of Gism with the crushing crust of Anti-Cimex and the darkness of Darkthrone, and to that end, Systemik succeeds wonderfully. Anarquia is ugly, sloppy, and harsh, although in no way is it unlistenable or poorly executed, and most importantly, it’s bursting with energy and punk spirit.
These guitars sound like they were played with the chainsaw on the cover, and Musashi screams and bellows while drummer Jöhnny Küso keeps the whole thing together at near-chaotic tempo. The simple and effective riffing of “Vulture Culture” treads towards Darkthrone’s latter-day experiments with the crusty, with a second half that is straight-out classic hardcore, and by the time Systemik Viølence slows it down – relatively speaking – for the groovy “Crapitalism,” with its prominent Network soundbite, the EP wraps perfectly… in time to cue it up again. Rock, rock, repeat.
And there’s where I would’ve ended this review, but before I could publish it, the gods of promotional copies gifted me with a second Systemik Viølence effort, this time their split with fellow Portuguese punkers Dokuga, a split entitled Make Punk Raw Again. (Now, put that on a red hat and I might wear it…) The Dokuga side of the disc is a slightly less frantic / slightly more straightforward hardcore version of Systemik Viølence’s basic framework. Their three tracks are presented with equal skill and drive, although truthfully there’s something slightly more appealing in Systemik Viølence’s complete reckless abandon that is lost in Dokuga’s attack. Still, that’s a very minor quibble, as both bands present three tracks of violently aggressive punk-metal. Overall, the whole of Anarquia edges out Make Punk Raw Again, at least in terms of Systemik’s contributions, although either (or more appropriately, both) should find their ways quickly into the ears of anyone interested in raw and ripping punk rock.
And look, Systemik Viølence wrote a song about us: