Raised Fist

Sound of the Republic

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Raised Fist must have come as a bit of a surprise for some stateside fans of Sweden's Burning Heart label. Given the Burning Heart acts previously picked up in the States, U.S. fans might be predisposed to expect melodic punk, but Fist falls firmly outside those boundaries. Formed in 1993, the Swedish group took its name from a Rage Against the Machine lyric, and proceeded to carve itself a niche in the grindcore scene. But it wasn't merely the ferocity of their mind-numbing metal meets hammering hardcore sound that has won Raised Fist fans over the last 13 years, as well as two offers to play Ozzfest. Part of the appeal is also found in their incorporation of industrial elements. Equally integral to their unique sound is Alexander Rajkovic's distinctive vocal delivery, inspired by hip-hop, and particularly noticeable on "Some of These Times." With Sound of the Republic, the band adds to the pressure with the recruitment of former Dark Funeral drummer Matte Modin. Little else has changed in the intervening four years since their last album. The music remains as angry as ever -- even "Sunlight" leaves the band in fury, with dark atmospheres shrouding most of the set in a gloaming that feeds the oppressive nature of the music. If this is the Sound of the Republic, Sweden must indeed be a devastatingly brutal land, awash in rage, railing against the world. Critics might suggest the band invest in a few sunlamps, but fans will be relieved to find that after their long interregnum, the Fists have lost none of their thunder and glory.

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