Atari Teenage Riot, Is This Hyperreal?

Andrew Parks

By Andrew Parks

on 05.17.11 in Reviews

Is This Hyperreal?

Atari Teenage Riot
Digital hardcore that hasn’t dulled one bit

How appropriate that Atari Teenage Riot's first album in forever was cut at a home studio called the Hellish Vortex. After all, the band's digital hardcore attack hasn't dulled one bit in the many years that separate their vicious mid-'90s run — riot-starting singles like "Deutschland (Has Gotta Die!)," "Destroy 2000 Years of Culture" and "Sick To Death" — and the battery acid beats/synth-chased sloganeering of Is This Hyperreal?. If anything, ATR's founding frontman (producer/vocalist Alec Empire) and longtime collaborator Nic Endo have reminded us of one thing…loudly: how they predated the frayed, electro-shocked noise-pop of such blog-stirring artists as Sleigh Bells and Crystal Castles by more than a decade. You have to willingly embrace their bleak, bruised, Berlin-borne worldview to enjoy it all, though, whether we're talking about the crushed keys and tension-ratcheting rhythms of "Blood In My Eyes" or the rail-jumping riffs and CX Kidtronik-backed call-to-arms choruses of "Activate!" To listen is to watch the world slowly crumble around you, but hey, at least they've got something of substance to say, right?