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Raw Power | ‘Inferno’

The burden of a legacy is something that is discussed on a regular basis, but rarely understood in a wider context.

Bands of a certain vintage often talk about the immense pressure they often feel when writing new albums because they have to compete with the classics.

They know all too well that modern crowds, especially when it comes to festivals, simply want to hear the well known numbers and will nod politely through new ones.

Less documented, however, is the impact it has on listeners who have only come across a “classic” band.

All too often, it’s possible to read about a band and the impact of their records, legacy they’ve left and how great these LP’s are, only to hear something far resembling “classic.”

It’s usually the case when it’s a band who have been ripped off by so many acts that the sound, which was once revolutionary, is now so commonplace it can be hard to hear what the excitement was all about.

That was the case for me and Raw Power first time I heard them.

Trade Descriptions Act

Once described by Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth) as being the audio equivalent of “a blister on your heel”, Italy’s Raw Power forged an international reputation through records like ‘Screams From the Gutter’ and ‘After Your Brain’, which took the power of US hardcore, and welded metallic riffage for extra onslaught.

Constant touring led to them playing with the likes of DRI, Corrosion of Conformity (check out Mike Dean’s t-shirt on the insert of ‘Animosity’), Dead Kennedys and even Guns n Roses.

All of this sounded very impressive to me. So did I buy one of the classic albums?

No. I bought 2014’s ‘Tired and Furious’ because it was the only one in the shops.

Let’s just say that one word in the title is correct, and the other infringes the Trades Descriptions Act.

Well, that’s maybe unfair. But it’s certainly a lacklustre album, and a lot of it is to do with the recording. To these ears, the whole thing sounds disjointed, where each member is just a little behind each other, blissfully unaware.

So I approached ‘Inferno’ with a certain amount of weariness and trepidation.


Thankfully, ‘Look the Other Way’ assures the listener that lessons have been learnt.

The tone is chunky, the speed is fast and the drums, although triggered to infinity, propel the song without dominating in the mix and vocalist Mauro Codeluppi still sounds utterly deranged after all these years.

Lasting just under 70 seconds, the title track isn’t quite the speed marathon you’d expect it to be. But it has a certain kind of groove to it which makes it infectious.

‘All it Takes it’s One Minute’ (that’s how it’s listed on the album and in the notes) is an example of how this album could have ended up like the Bloodclot album (clean and clinical).

The start/stop riffing is properly processed, and the cowbell profoundly irritating. But, despite all this, there’s a real uplifting quality to it.

Not just in the lyrics and the delivery of them, but when the band come together for the chorus, they manage to sound like four people in the same room (as opposed to the cut and paste nature of much digital recording).

Rather worryingly, one or two of the more midtempo songs bring Linea 77 to mind. Not that there’s any serious attempt to go nu-metal here but the mid pace, coupled with Codeluppi’s hectoring vocals, just make it a little too close for comfort.

They’re certainly not awful songs, but the crimes committed in that period have left their mark and anything that vaguely resembles nu-metal will not sit well with me. Thankfully, there are only a few, and then the hardcore comes back into play.

Mainly Good Hardcore

With a running time of 28 minutes, ‘Inferno’ doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, or reinvent the wheel.

It’s certainly not the best record you’ll hear all year and obviously not a patch on ‘Screams…’ and ‘After Your Brain.’

However, despite all that, it is an enjoyable record of (mainly) good hardcore and it is gratifying to see them still make an effort in putting out records of a certain standard, something a few of their peers can take note of (Rattus, I’m looking in your direction).

That’s the importance of legacies.

3 / 5 – Christopher Owens ::: 17/07/17

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