Atari Teenage Riot – Is This Hypperreal? Atari Teenage Riot – Is This Hypperreal?

When I first heard Burn, Berlin, Burn! way back in 1997, I believed that Atari Teenage Riot, with their anarchic, sample-happy, speed-metal midi noise worship, would be the sexy Germanic sages to show us the bloody, blipping way of punk rock into the 21st Century and well the fuck beyond.

When I saw them once, touring off 60 Second Wipeout and Hanin Elias sang “Die, Die, Die…MY DARLING!” with her legs wrapped around my neck while Alec Empire espoused the revolutionary rhetoric of Malcom X, I was goddamn certain.


But now it’s 2011 and – shit, kids – everything kinda sounds like some sad old nineties flannel masturbation, 4AD or, worse yet, Morissey.

Don’t even get me started on political punk. Unwashed, half-baked wouldn’t-be hippies shouting acoustic atonalities about the workingman’s pride while draining their trust funds into fey “alternative” spaces with such soft, uncalloused hands.

“Counter culture…mutated into a self-obsessed vacuum at some point…before we got here.”

That’s Nic Endo whispering on the title track off of Atari Teenage Riot’s Is This Hypperreal? (their first release in 12 years) and though I am loathe to ever quote a band whose lyrics have been consistently challenged by forced English imperatives (at best), she is motherfucking right.

The power of the riot has been commodified, pussified, dumbed-down and mollycoddled to a cruel half-death while racism, sexism and homophobia still run rampant through our Western identities.

Just look at Vancouver.

Thank fuck, Atari Teenage Riot is back, then. Yeah, Carl Crack is dead. Hanin Elias is off doing some sultry/furious things. But Alec Empire is here and he’s brought MC CX KiDTRONiK and Nic Endo to revitalize the beast that broke a thousand backs with placard axioms and sweaty electronics.

And it’s pissed.

Just like it was then. Just like it will be until the world changes and there isn’t such a dire need for screaming simplicities over and over against a bastard beat and ceaseless riffs (mostly stolen, I must admit).

The only difference between Atari Teenage Riot now and Atari Teenage Riot then (other than the lineup change) is a shred of optimism at the end. Now, I’m not saying that “Collapse of History” is by any means a pop track but it does break, mercifully, from all the distorted angst.

It’s a positive rage. A note to the future.

I guess there’s hopes for my idealism, yet.

1. Activate!
2. Blood In My Eyes
3. Black Flags
4. Is This Hyperreal?
5. Codebreaker
6. Shadow Identity
7. Re-Arrange Your Synapses
8. Digital Decay
9. The Only Slight Glimmer of Hope
10. The Collapse of History

Atari Teenage Riot - Is This Hypperreal?, reviewed by Charles on 2011-06-22T09:33:53-07:00 rating 3.8 out of 5

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