Atari Teenage Riot - Is This Hypereal? (Dim Mak)

Never ones to be subtle, Atari Teenage Riot make long awaited return.

Released Jun 13th, 2011 via Dim Mak / By David Waite
Atari Teenage Riot - Is This Hypereal? (Dim Mak) After from a long hiatus, Atari Teenage Riot are back with their distinctive brand of digital intensity, and as soon as this record begins, it is very apparent that Alec Empire and co. don't intend to make any concessions upon their return.

Is This Hyperreal? remains refreshingly unpolished throughout. The opening track and first single 'Activate' is a pulsating way to kick off the album and there is a lot more to get excited about. Tracks 'Digital Decay' and 'Shadow Identity' are backed by grooves halfway somewhere between punk rock and hard house, whilst 'Rearrange Your Synapses' will please those hoping for a return to previous thrash based release 60 Second Wipe-Out. This is a bleak and brutal mix of punk guitars, deep synthetic frequencies and infectious rhythms.

However, there are two faces to this album, both decidedly ugly, but only one in a good way. The songs are consistently let down by the a perpetual stream of vocals like a bad MC at a rave. The lyrics are frequently incoherent and when the words can be made out, they are more often than not patronisingly blunt. There is nothing unusual with political statements in music, particularly music with a punk ethos but Alec Empire, Nic Endo and the brilliantly named new addition - CX KiDTRONiK, take turns to spout off some pretty weak soundbites, referring to a capitalist world governments, who are using the internet as method of control. "They" are trying to subdue you. "They" are the cause of all poverty and racism etc, etc. The group would probably argue against empathy like this, but from a purely musical point of view It gets old very quickly and its hard not to let it ruin the enjoyment of the the record.

Ruin is a strong word, as there is plenty to like about the audio assault offered here. There has never been anything remotely subtle about this band and that - for better and for worse, will probably always remain the case.