You know how after your favorite bands have been around for a while they eventually make that back-to-our-roots kind of record that reminds you of the fire they once had? Well this is one of the records that happen before that one. Existing well past the decade mark, Stockholm, Sweden’s Victims have been called many things—punk, hardcore, thrash, d-beat, crust, metal, and…well, you get the picture. With the release of their fifth full-length album, A Dissident, one could make an argument for the addition of another genre to the list: Pop.
As anyone who has had the pleasure of witnessing Victims play live can tell you, they bring an aural onslaught capable of transforming any dance floor into a whirlwind of flailing bodies and flung beer. And usually that turbulence translates well to their recorded material. On A Dissident, some of the chaos and distortion is still there—albeit a bit muted—but if you want to hear it, you’re going to have to turn it all the way up.
If someone who is just getting into MMA, asked me what I thought of The Ultimate Fighter TV show. I would tell them it’s a good way to trick your girlfriend into watching cage fighting. Inasmuch, for someone that is normally frightened by Scandinavian crust, A Dissident would be an appeasing initiation. A good “starter” record, if you will. If you listen to Victims’ back catalog in sequence, I suppose the cleaner, less urgent sound of this recording would seem like a natural progression. But to anyone that hasn’t heard them in a while, you’d certainly be forgiven if you didn’t initially recognize this as the same band that killed it on their side of the split with From Ashes Rise.
On this release there are similarities—sometimes subtle, sometimes glaringly obvious—to Fat Wreck-era Sick Of It All, especially on “Bringing Me Down” and “We Are Not The Future.” If I didn’t know better, I would think it was the Koller brothers and co. themselves. Occasionally, like on the song “In Control”, there are little nuances evocative of Kylesa’s recent material. Stylistically, A Dissident is not a total departure though. “Victims In Blood-Part 6” and “Broken Bones” are blasts of feverous d-beat hardcore reminiscent of earlier albums Divide & Conquer and, Victims In Blood. (Coincidence, I think not.)
So when I say "pop" what I mean is, it has some key features that would distiguish it as such—it appeals to a larger audience, there’s emphasis on musical craftsmanship and song structure, and it’s well-produced. As a whole A Dissident is more palatable than previous Victims offerings—leaving something a litte less polished to be desired.
6.9 / 10
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