Atari Teenage Riot – Reset
Release date: 9th February 2015
RESET is Atari Teenage Riot’s sixth album. As its title states, this new release is unequivocally set in the now. RESET revises the agenda for a new age and the release of the title track announced the coming of the album with a timely blast of confrontation.
They still embrace the disruptive effect of seemingly chaotic rhythms and arbitrary noise but also hit home with nerve shredding hooks and bone crunching riffs that characterise the essence of Atari Teenage Riot and thrust the future of visceral mind-searing music firmly into the next era.
More musically diverse than ever, the songs are united by the sense of unease and apprehension surrounding the increasing control governments, and their cohorts in multinational corporations, exert over the common man in their pursuit of wealth and power.
Media manipulation is the twenty first century weapon of choice and the resources dedicated to monitoring everything from social trends to an individual’s every activity are truly staggering.
This is the thread that runs through the opening track J1M1. Government surveillance is 24/7 and their authoritarian control of the news channels is ruthlessly used to shepherd the masses. And if that fails they don’t hesitate to crush the opposition like ants.
J1M1’s cacophonous undercurrent attempts to capture the background soundtrack of warand its insistent message, proclaimed in turns by Alec Empire and new MC Rowdy Superstar, finally erupts into a triumphant chorus of defiance.
The lyrical stance of the album was triggered by the revelations exposed by Wikileaks and Edward Snowden. The hacker community had consistently warned us but they were dismissed as hysterical dissidents. The relentless pursuit of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden by the U.S. government accompanied by a monumental smear campaign to detract from their disclosures merely confirms their importance.
These concerns are not new to the band and mirror Alec Empire’s familiarity with the oppressions in East Berlin and his ongoing personal experience of censorship and surveillance. The banning in Germany of ATR’s second album, The Future of War, and warnings from the hacker community of secret monitoring of his activities by persons unknown have stripped his world view of any illusions.
Hard on the heels of J1M1 is the urban groove of Street Grime. Death Machine resonates with the beats soaked up while gigging with Wu Tang and the Beastie Boys and the powerhouse of fresh live favourite New Blood’s chant shakes the house like an earthquake.
The key track, Modern Liars, argues that the only solution is to take control of your own life. Rob McLellan’s iconic video references films and games to question the deceptive gloss modern technology and its soothsayers use to conceal the real state of the world.
Nic Endo takes the lead on Modern Liars showcasing her ever increasing contribution to the band. Nic had been invited to join ATR full time after the release of her exhilarating breakthrough record; 1998’s White Heat. Initially her synthesiser skills added invention and weight to the music but her writing skills, ranging from the massive hook on Modern Liars to the off kilter melody of Death Machine, bring a new dimension to ATR and introduce a new era for the band.
Surprisingly the album is ultimately uplifting and despite the threats we all face the only solution is celebrated too. Atari Teenage Riot reminds everyone that the power to change lies within each of us and it’s not only a right but also a responsibility to use it.