It has been 11 years since Atari Teenage Riot released an album, and by this point they had faded to the back of my mind. When I finally got around to listening to Is This Hyperreal? my first thought was, Holy shit! This is a powerhouse! It was like a shot in the arm! The beats in the first track, “Activate,” explode forth and immediately set the mood — it makes you want to run around like a psycho and fuck shit up. Each track is full of powerful energy — beats that build up and explode forth, never letting up. It’s not the sort of music you want to listen to if you have a migraine. Well, unless you want the pounding in your head to synch up with the beats and cause you to vomit.
The lyrics on the record touch on themes I’m normally used to hearing in the punk genre: anti-military, anti-government, anti-corporate — a call for resistance. When I listened to “Blood In My Eyes,” I couldn’t help but notice that Nic Endo’s punky vocal stylings brought Kathleen Hanna to mind. Also, the track is a call for a revenge on behalf of women who are enslaved in human trafficking, something I could see Hanna singing about.
The only substantial lull on Is This Hyperreal? is the title track, which is positioned right in the middle of the album. It has a nice, slow burn to it, and goes on just long enough for your heart rate to get back to normal. Immediately following, though, we’re launched into “Codebreaker,” another song with a heart attack beat, and the drum machine on “Re-Arrange Your Synapses” is just as insane. Another song, “Digital Decay,” starts off with Daft Punk-y swagger, with Nic cooing in our ear in a sexy voice. She says, “The elite of our time — as a wet dream — they want to turn the internet into a personal global chessboard, with every user as a servant to their powers…we must resist all forces who are pushing against our liberation.”
Overall, this is a great album. Perfect music for playing video games — I’m pretty sure it gave me supernatural qualities when playing “Black Ops.” Perhaps, though, we should follow the call to action found in the lyrics. They ask, “Well, are you going to act or will you just stare the screen for hours on end?” I must admit, I’m more likely to do the latter, but if I ever choose to join the battle, you can bet I’ll be blasting Is This Hyperreal? as I carry out acts of revolutionary violence.
(Dim Mak Records, PO Box 348, Hollywood, CA 90078)