If you have heard of the Berlin based Atari Teenage Riot, then you probably know exactly what this band are about. They are more than just any typical political band. They are political movement with shock factor and a completely unique sound with band member Alec Empire creating the term digital hardcore. Since reforming in 2010 and releasing Is This Hyperreal? in 2011, the band have now released their fifth studio album Reset.
As often is the case with such an “out there” band, the album is, musically, an experience. The songs are filled with attitude and muscle with all kinds of variations of musical genres included; there are heavy metal riffs, sections of rap, heavy techno and digital effects, and just a continuous pump of raging punk elements. The title track, ‘Reset’, is riotous and delivers a sound that really marks the bands territory and separates them from the rest. With a pumping beat to start and mellowing out in parts as Nic Endo screams “RESET!”, before dropping into distorted digitalised sounds again, it is no wonder that this was chosen as the title track.
It’s difficult to go through the album and describe each song; each has its own emotional, political and musical effect. However, there are a few songs that, like ‘Reset’, that really do stand out. One of these is the strongly named ‘Death Machine’. It features heavy digi-guitars with the typically punk elements of Alec Empire jumping between this and an eerie keyboard riff with Nic Endo’s extremely creepy but brilliant vocal lines. Rowdy Superstar is also given his time to shine once he breaks into a free flowing rap breakdown; it’s a highlight of the album and just represents the bands ability to comfortably mould a multitude of genres into one.
The album does struggle slightly, however, with creating that edge that they always used to have. Their commitment to exposing the wrongs of the world and pushing their political views is undeniably strong but the album does not display the same ‘punch’ that is often associated with Atari Teenage Riot. The hardcore elements of the bands sound have been tamed slight, as displayed in the creepy ‘Erase Your Face’ as well as final track ‘We Are From The Internet’, though this is possibly the way the band wanted to develop their sound. The impact of their previous tracks and albums is not felt in quite the same way although certain tracks to still maintain this. The ‘in your face’ sound that we are so used to from Atari Teenage Riot has been replaced with an eerie atmospheric feel with an incredible mix of sounds and it is impressive nonetheless. Reset is a good album with the bands typically strong intentions but, as an overall album, it does not quite politically or musically strike the listener as it intends to.