The first thing you notice about this album is the sheer brutality of it. It really is like being repeatedly battered in the face with a large hammer over and over again. It shouldn't be as enjoyable as this, but it is.
I will be the first to admit I haven't got a massive hardcore background, but I found this release to be superb. Right from the very first track 'Get This Right!' the quality is evident. Grindcore riffs bounce off razor sharp drums, and the Rage Against The Machine influence comes strongly with the lyrics. A diatribe against all the bands who are 'struggling to get into a fucking nice review' while leaving their punk-rock ideals behind is augmented by the sudden change of pace within the song. This variety and flexibility are, in my opinion, two of the best aspects of this album meaning that while songs sound similar, there's never any kind of 'generic' track here.
Musically, some people may think 'Dedication' is as complex as putting a brick in a blender, standing well back and diving for cover. However, on repeated listening, the muscianship really stands out. On 'That's Why' the drum interval is stunning, and the speed and technicality of the riffage is to be admired. This is a band who plays with passion and talent in equal measure, and boy are they passionate.
While it may seem that many of the topics contained within the lyrics are somewhat clichéd, they are expresssed in a way that many punk bands do not - the use of rhymes in a hip-hop way but definitely without any pretensions. Raised Fist took their name from a Rage Against The Machine lyric and musically, on the track 'The People Behind', it could indeed be Rage themselves. With an almost groove-esque bassline and a rapid fire lyrical message it really is exciting to listen to.
The title track, 'Dedication', deserves special mention. A paean to the DIY punk scene and all its participants, it really is touching to listen to. In a violent kinda way. Its defiance, rebellion and unity all in one song and manages to pull it off without sounding hackneyed or trite.
Musically, this is brutal stuff. I know my heavy stuff, and this really is like undergoing some serious pain. But - it works. Its fantastic in fact. Emotional and powerful, as well as being damn good to piss off your flatmates with, but I don't think it'll win any fan who haven't already heard something heavy. If you like hardcore - buy it. If not, then perhaps it's not for you. But do listen to it, whatever your musical tastes, since it really is impressive.
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