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Life Is Like A Broken Video Game

Atari Teenage Riot
Burn, Berlin, Burn!
(Grand Royal / DHR)

Alec Empire, founding member of Atari Teenage Riot recently stated, "Riot sounds produce riots." This quote aptly describes both the auditory and politial goals of one of the newest and most interesting groups on the scene. ATR formed about three years after getting fed up with what they felt was a dull techno / rave scene. Since their founding, the group has run into considerable resistance from both the neo-nazi movement and most radio stations who refuse to play them (Hmm, is that saying something about mainstream radio?). This possibly comes from their extremist views and sonic assault unlike anything musically created. The group released two full-length albums on their Digital Hardcore label before being picked up and signed by the Beastie's label Grand Royal.

Burn, Berlin, Burn! is 14 tracks of a purely volatile nature taken from their two import releases. The group mixes elements of punk, techno, and hardcore to an almost dizzying effect. The track "Start The Riot" is the perfect album opener, as it lays down the trademark sound and sets the tone for the rest of the album. The 200 bpm song is fueled by a hardcore beat and screamed vocals. The bridges in the song are held together by odd samples and video game blips cranked up to the hilt. Every other song on the album is a straightforward message and attack of some kind. The group takes on media and television in "Press," they go to town on German politics in "Deutschland (Has Gotta Die!)," and popular icons in, "Destroy 2000 Years of Culture."

Overall, the group has put out quite an interesting album. The sound is unlike anything created recently and their message is as extremist as they come. Their pounding rythyms and screaming vocals appeal in a very primal way, even though many of their lyrics come across as kind of simplistic and repetitive (it seems to be a pitfall that many punk and hardcore bands fall into). It may be hard to dance to, but the 14 songs on Burn, Berlin, Burn! contain enough energy to fuel the fire for awhile.

Rating: 6.75